What Happened to Danilo Gallinari?

Danilo Gallinari has been one of the worst offensive players in the league over these first few weeks of the 2012-’13 season. He’s shooting at career low percentages, including an abysmal 21 percent from three point range. With the help of MySynergy Sports, let’s explore where Gallinari has excelled and failed this season.

Isolation

We can start with the good news. Despite Gallinari’s overall poor start to the season, he has been one of the best isolation players in the league. He is averaging 1.03 points per isolation possession, good for 6th best in the NBA, according to Synergy. Gallinari has been especially dangerous when he starts his isolations around the top of the key. From there, he has scored or been fouled 63 percent of the time, which makes sense because he is a frequent driver from that spot on the floor.

On the other hand, Gallinari’s has been less successful on his isolations from the wing, which end with a jump shot about 80 percent of the time.

Spot-up

Based on how often he launches threes from the left wing, one might think it is Gallinari’s favorite spot on the floor. Unfortunately, he not actually making the numerous threes he takes from the area. In the previous two seasons, Gallinari struggled from the left wing, and this season has been even worse than usual. He’s shooting 1-19 on threes from the left wing this season, according to NBA.com.

via NBA.com

Gallinari’s poor shooting has crippled his efficiency on spot-up possessions; he’s only averaging 0.5 points per spot-up and shooting 13 percent on spot-up threes. It’s not like defenses are doing an extraordinary job in closing out on him, either. Gallinari is missing shots when the defense gives him time to set his feet and shoot, as seen below.

Transition

Getting easy fast break possessions can be a good way to boost your field goal percentage, as Gallo could attest to in the previous two seasons. This season, however, Gallinari hasn’t been the recipient of those possessions. Denver is still pushing the pace, but Gallinari has seen a decline in his number of transition opportunities. In the 2010-’11 and 2011-’12 seasons with Denver, 21 and 18 percent of his possessions were in transition, respectively. So far this season, that number is down to 11 percent. To make matters worse, many of Gallinari’s transition possessions are pretty much him forcing the issue by himself. Predictably, Gallo hasn’t had much success forcing it when the numbers aren’t in his favor.

The question still remains as to what kind of player Danilo Gallinari really is. Indeed, he has been working through injuries this season, but he hasn’t been an above average three-point shooter since 2010. Because of his effectiveness as a pick-and-roll ball handler and isolation scorer, he doesn’t necessarily need to be a sharpshooter to be efficient. However, based Denver’s lack of three-point shoot shooters, they need Gallinari to return to his old form more than anything. Gallinari’s sore ankle and knee could be affecting his shooting performance, but it’s surprising that he remains so effective in isolation despite these injuries.

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