D'Antoni, Gallinari Bring More Than Good Pizza to the Big Apple

Andrew ButlerCorrespondent IJune 27, 2008

In the first move to begin the D'Antoni chapter for the New York Knicks, David Stern says "...the New York Knicks select, Danilo Gallinari." Boos erupted in NYC's Wamu Theater to a kid, who like many others, dreamed of international stardom and fame on the basketball court. 

Meanwhile the ESPN coverage with Jay Bilas and company, as usual, showed their great study up on the NBA Draft when they struggled to make input on Gallinari, along with what he brings to the NBA. 

After the quick analysis of Danilo's game, New York Knicks biggest critic and biggest fan, Stephen A. Smith, didn't seem too animated interviewing Gallinari like he was with the other lottery picks. Especially since Smith will get to know Gallinari a lot better over the next decade.

Regardless of whether he's Italian, Indian, Brazilian, or Martian (Mars), and whether or not his name is Danilo Gallinari, or Cory Lekkerkerker for the Dallas Cowboys (yes it's spelled right, search it yourself), if he came here to win, I don't see what's not to like about him. 

First off, we're not just talking about D'Antoni's connections to why he took Gallinari. But if you’re going to take an international player, speaking their language makes communication much easier (probably the most important factor in building a team). D'Antoni speaks Italian, Gallinari speaks English, check. 

Second, D'Antoni was the leading scorer for his Italian team when he played basketball, he won two Euroleague titles and five Italian league titles. So, he's been in Gallinari's shoes and now he's one of the best coaches in Europe and the U.S. 

The up tempo system he loves, is Gallinari's style of play. Also, Gallinari is very coachable with how D'Antoni can relate to him. This will make it easier for him to adapt to U.S. basketball, which makes a totally different situation then Nene Hilario in NYC. 

Third, for the second youngest player in the NBA draft, to become the MVP of the Euroleague, I think that says something in itself.  Gallinari doesn't stop using the word win in Italian and English when I listen to him talk. And his dad, Victorio, who played with D'Antoni, constantly preaches to Danilo about winning and practice, constantly improving Danilo's game. 

Whether winning rubbed off on D'Antoni from Victorio or vice-versa, D'Antoni thrives off of winning, as shown by his success in Europe and the U.S. Danilo Gallinari will be a perfect complement to D'Antoni's system and has the chemistry with D'Antoni to become an NBA star. 

What's even more enjoyable about this situation is that often times international players are relatively unproven in the Euroleague, but because they show the skills to be great down the line, NBA teams gamble on their rights as shown in this draft by Ibaka, Ajinca, and Batum somewhat. 

With a player like Danilo being so young and so proven at that level, makes this much less of a gamble and more of a draft pick for talent. Rather than possibilities like much international players as busts face.

So, what does Gallinari bring to the New York Knicks? Unfortunately not much defense, which Russell Westbrook would be perfect for as well, being defensive player of the year in the Pac-10. 

Gallinari is all clutch, and is all about winning, as he makes in his statements. He has that relentless attitude that you can see in Deron Williams, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Dirk Nowitzki. Now, I'm not saying that he'll amount to their skills, but come playoffs, Gallinari will not stop for anyone. 

Gallinari is excellent at drawing fouls and plays with great fundamentals along with confidence, these traits translate into the NBA really well.  He can shoot well on the perimeter and can drive to the basket as a slashing wing. 

With Gallinari playing for the Knicks, he can do well. D'Antoni is beginning to change the culture and mentality of the New York Knicks with himself from the outside in, and with Gallinari from the inside out.  There's a lot of ifs here with Gallinari but D'Antoni produces results, as a player and as a coach. 

While ESPN has passed up good attention on a player who can make or break the Knicks' future, and Stephen A. Smith is busy rushing to judge an Italian talent with most likely Bargnani Knicks' nightmares, the least you can do is give the kid a chance.