DENVER (NBA/EuroBasket) – When Italy run onto the court at the EuroBasket in Slovenia this summer and attempt to qualify for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, nothing would make Azzurri fans happier than to see Danilo Gallinari perform the way he has of late in the NBA.
Having for several years been touted as a player who could take the NBA by storm, Gallinari has done that of late for the red-hot Denver Nuggets.
His play has led Denver coach George Karl to express the opinion that the Italian may just be his team’s best player.
The 24-year-old is averaging 20.57 points over the last seven games, all Nuggets victories.
Now in his fifth NBA season, Gallinari is looking like the real deal.
"I think Gallo has moved into kind of a fight for, 'Who is our best player?'" Karl said.
"And I have no problem saying that on a lot of nights, and maybe even most nights, he is our best player."
In his remarks to the Denver Post, Karl highlighted Gallinari’s willingness to not only shoot the basketball and rebound, but to do everything a leader needs to do.
“The consistency of a young player, the maturity of leadership in a young player, the understanding of teamwork and 'teamness,' all of that stuff,” Karl said.
“If you're going to be the best player, it helps to be a leader in the intangibles of the game of basketball."
Gallinari is wary of talking about himself.
"The less I think about that, the better I play," Gallinari said.
"I don't want to think about all of that stuff. When I think about the team, I play well and the team plays well."
Italy are going to benefit from an in-form and healthy Gallinari, something he hasn’t always been.
He shone for the Azzurri last summer in the Qualification Round for the EuroBasket and no doubt will be a key for the Italians if they are going to have success in Slovenia.