[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]NEW YORK -- Ask an average NBA player, any average NBA player, if he can develop into a star, and chances are the ballplayer will nod in bobblehead form and swear he merely needs the right coach, the right system, and the requisite amount of touches and shots.
Ask Danilo Gallinari if he can grow into a star or superstar over time, and suddenly you hear a taxicab confession in the middle of the losers' locker room.
"I don't think so," Gallinari said.
"I will try to work as hard as I can to help the team win, that's my goal," Gallinari said Wednesday night after his New York Knicks lost to the Golden State Warriors by a 122-117 count. "My goal is not to be a superstar."
OK, this was worth another try. Gallinari had just emerged from the Madison Square Garden showers, where he tried and failed to wash away his big misses in the fourth quarter. He took three shots in the final 83 seconds of a frantic game, two of them open 3-pointers that could have ruined David Lee's homecoming night, and 24 hours after a dreadful 1-for-6 performance in Milwaukee, Gallinari fired nothing but blanks.
No, it wasn't all his fault, not even close. Raymond Felton doesn't know how to run the pick-and-roll with Amare Stoudemire, and the Knicks still play team defense as though it's a suggestion, not a mandate.
But Donnie Walsh and Mike D'Antoni need the 22-year-old Gallinari to develop into something special, or at least something damn close to special. Walsh and D'Antoni made the Italian forward their program's very first draft pick, taking him ahead of Eric Gordon and Brook Lopez.
The Knicks need Gallinari to be their most reliable shooter since Allan Houston if they're going to grow into a true contender with him in the lineup, or if they're going to persuade Denver to accept a Gallinari-centric package in exchange for Carmelo Anthony.
In fact, the Knicks used Gallinari as part of their doomed summertime sales pitch to LeBron James. They presented James' people with statistics favorably comparing their 6-foot-10 hopeful to the likes of Peja Stojakovic, Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu in the early stages of their careers.
So Wednesday night, with LeBron long gone and Anthony still off somewhere in the distance, Gallinari was reminded that some smart basketball people believe he has the talent to be a star, maybe a superstar.
"I don't know," he said. "I don't think I have those abilities."
"No. To get to be a superstar you have to have a lot of things, and if you compare me to Carmelo and LeBron ... there's a big difference. It will still take a lot of work."
No argument there. And nobody ever suggested Gallinari could someday emerge as a planet in LeBron's faraway solar system.
But Gallinari has to be better than this -- as in much -- for D'Antoni's ultimate vision to come to life. Stoudemire is the Knicks' centerpiece, and he gave them 33 points and 10 rebounds, even if he did blow two huge free throws with 49.4 seconds left.
Wilson Chandler is the Knicks' second-best player, and he ripped a page from the Willis Reed playbook after a Lee elbow shattered one of his teeth. Chandler finished with 27 points, nine in the fourth quarter, only to miss the potential game-tying three-pointer in the closing seconds that by now should be a shot designed exclusively for Gallinari to take.
"There were four or five options," D'Antoni said of that possession, which ended when Stoudemire fed Chandler for a heave that landed -- fittingly enough -- in Lee's waiting hands.
"It was a little bit of a Hail Mary," the coach conceded.
Of course, D'Antoni once called Gallinari "the best shooter I've ever seen." That shooter should've been Option 1, 2 and 3 on the final shot, if only he wasn't suffering a severe crisis of faith.
"Our outside shots are not going," D'Antoni said. "People are pressing."
Gallinari denied that he's one of them, but the numbers and the films don't lie. He's dealt with a sore wrist and an ego bruised by the Anthony trade talks. The pick-and-roll problems aren't helping Gallinari, but then again, his problems aren't helping the pick-and-roll.
Wednesday night, Gallinari missed all five of his three-point attempts and looked like the least comfortable man on the floor. Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis did their Frazier and Monroe thing, and Lee did more gesturing, chest-bumping and primal screaming than he did in five seasons with the Knicks.
Gallinari? If he did go 9-for-9 from the line and finish with 15 points and 7 rebounds. He also bricked the shots that mattered most and did what the Knicks do best: He found a way to lose.
"Our chemistry is not there yet," Gallinari said, "but we will get there."
The Knicks will get there sooner rather than later if Gallinari finds his game and his nerve. So what's the kid's upside?
"I think the level of Dirk," Gallinari said.
Dirk Nowitzki? Yes, that's more like that.
"I think I can get near to that," Gallinari said. "I don't know if I can get there."
Truth is, Danilo Gallinari doesn't have to be another Dirk Nowitzki.
But he's got to be a lot better than this.
Ian O'Connor is a columnist for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.
Where's the confidence? I'm not saying he can ever get to the level of LBJ, Melo, or Dirk. But holy ****, when you're the player you don't say that. Why is he destroying his trade value like this? Why would anyone want him if he's making it known that he believes he won't be a star in this league?
The hits just keep on coming.
LOL. I knew it, other REAL fans knew it, but the **** loving fan club seems to think other wise. How they don't see what he does on the court is mind boggling. They must have something sticky in their eyes...
Lol. He said he didn't think he could be a "superstar", which he subsequently defined as being a Lebron, or Wade, or Carmelo.
He then said he felt he could realistically, reasonably could be and wants to be DIRK, and that is his "upside". Sounds pretty confident to me. And if anything his comparison there carries a bit more "weight" and (true) confidence given his "realism" in being upfront and reflective in not having Lebron-Wade-Carmelo superstar ability, and not talking totally out of his ass.
You same foos would be riding him even harder if he SAID he could be a superstar.
I don't even think he can be a Dirk, But, Dirt yeah, thats the name....Dirt Dabrickski.
Personally, I don't even want him on the team because his lack of skill and family ties is eating up the minutes and taking up space. We can do way better...and he some what admitted it. Very telling how people will respond to this...
Anyone who thought he could be wade, lebron, or carmello is a muh****in FOOL
I wouldnt mind seeing him be the next Dirk but he doesnt rebound good enough to play power forward
I mean...dude's up there with those names...in terms of how many sneaker deals and commercials he does? Not really. How many kids wanna be him and use him in video games? Not so much. Does he put up numbers and is he highly effective? Yes.
So I'm not even seeing the comparison there, other than tall white dude from over seas. But by that same token Kosta Kofus can be the next Dirk....nah...
I don't want to hear about what a player thinks he can do right after he tells me what he can't do while he's currently playing like garbage. I buy this politically dressed up quote as much as I buy the quote that KG told Villanueva that "you're a cancer to the league and to your team." We all know what KG said...and we all know what Gallo is trying to say. Now is this because his confidence is shaken because of trade rumors and such? I dunno, but it's possible because he is young...but "I can't be a superstar like LBJ or Melo and I'm not even trying to...but I can be a superstar like Dirk" doesn't cut it.
To be Dirk he first has to get into the paint and use his size to his advantage, then he has to learn to take contact and still get his shot off. You're not doing that from the 3-point line no matter how much you "work on it."
a starting five of Felton( beast ) Fields ( getting better each game, def a keeper ) Chandler, Randolph and Stat. thats if he's going to have STAT at the 5,
I think this is partially a language barrier/idiomatic thing that it seemed like he was saying he's self-admitted mediocre talent who's cool taking our money and being an Italian playboy blessed to live in NYC as a Knick.
But whatever. Gallo has been weak and has done little to inspire confidence, so he opens himself to getting this type of interpretation.
I want him traded, but still think he has good value and a lotta ability. Still, he is the #1 worst knick right now. He's been throwing the flow and lineups into funks, for the most part.
If d'ant will keep giving him these minutes, we need more dominant players with confidence on court at same time to let him work thru what he needs to.
You know I knew Gallo never had the mindset to be a star because he is a choke artist and headcase but I thought atleast in his delusional mind that he acutally thought he could be something special. And since a guy like Dirk is a superstar, I don't know how he couldn't see himself as a young Dirk.
But this disgust me, Gallinari has the talent, but doesn't know how to use it. He is so lost that he doesn't even see his own abilities which is why he never charges the hoop to draw fouls which he can be great at, and he never posts up even though he is 6'10.
If an NBA player doesn't think he can be the best, then he never will be. And Gallo just proved to me that he doesn't have confidence in himself.
I didn't get a "I'll just take your money and be a playboy" vibe from that, I got a "I'm not sure what I can or can't be, I'm getting no guidance from my coaches....what do you guys want me to be? Here....I'll be Dirk. Ok?" vibe from it.
I've been disappointed with Gallo's play of late, but this article are taking his quotes out of context.
He isn't conceding anything. He still has confidence and wants to win.
He isn't from here, English is his 2nd language, and the media gets to pick and choose how his words are said. This article is not getting his message across.
Want to be pist off at Gallo, do it based on his play not because some journalist decided to misrepresent his attitude.
Polar opposite of Eddie Curry who says put me on the floor and I'll dominate, who believes that s**t either. If Gallo thinks he can be as good as Dirk that's cool, I'd just like to see him approach Dirk's level and right now he doesn't have an outside shot that is money like Dirk's.