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    Danilo Gallinari Could be a Forgotten Fantasy Star

    Ricky Sanders Staff Writer July 22, 2014 1:54PM EDT
    This year, Danilo Gallinari will be Fantasy’s forgotten man. Make sure you are the owner to dip into your memory bank and select him before someone else does.

    After missing all of 2013, Danillo Gallinari should come at an excellent value in Fantasy drafts. Photo Credit: RotoExperts Archives

    After missing all of 2013, Danilo Gallinari should come at an excellent value in Fantasy drafts. Photo Credit: RotoExperts Archives

    A long, long time ago (2012-13 season) in a Pepsi Center far, far away, a man named Gallinari put up nearly All-Star quality numbers. In the best season of his career, Gallinari strung together a line of 16.2 PPG on 41.8 percent FG, 1.9 3PM on 37.3 3P percentage, 82.2 FT percentage, 5.2 REB, 2.5 AST, 0.9 STL and 0.5 BLK in 71 games. Comparable stat lines from last season would be those of Bradley Beal and Chandler Parsons, each of whom will rank in my top 50 heading into the year. Had he not gotten hurt, he would have been coming off of a career high in PPG/points per-36 minutes heading into 2013.

    Unfortunately, Gallinari suffered a terrible knee injury near the end of his breakout campaign. Over the course of two weeks, Gallinari needed surgery to repair both a torn meniscus and ACL in the same leg. Despite swearing all season that he would recover quickly and play at some point, he never ended up returning (partially due to the ACL surgery “setback”). From the perspective of Denver Nuggets management it absolutely was the right move to stay cautious, even before the second surgery. Denver fell 13 games short of the playoffs so there was no reason to risk re-injury. In January, he had still not started basketball activities. The team claimed the arthroscopic ACL procedure was just to “promote healing.” Although he suited up for a game in April, he never entered the game, as that was never in the plans. Most will just worry about the injury heading into this year and forget the numbers of old. However, he has been dunking and training since April. By the start of next season, he should easily be back to 100 percent.

    General Manager Tim Connelly was quoted on May 27 saying Gallinari, “looks great. If there was any silver lining in the atypical fashion in which we had his knee addressed it’s that both legs are stronger than ever and he is much farther along in his rehab than he would have been without his setback last season.” The roster construction will be slightly different this time around with no Andre Iguodala or Andre Miller. Without those two, Gallinari should have more opportunities to handle the ball. Even with stud point guard Ty Lawson still around, it wouldn’t surprise me if Gallinari finally eclipsed the 3.0 AST plateau this upcoming season. If reports are true, and Gallinari is really going to be 100 percent by the start of training camp, he will once again be an integral part of the offense on a fast-paced Denver team. Missing a full season may mean that next season isn’t going to be better than 2012, but there’s no reason to believe it will be much worse either. Gallinari is an excellent target in the mid-rounds due to his well-rounded Fantasy game. Don’t forget the main asset Denver received in the Carmelo Anthony trade because he will likely fall too far in drafts and out-produce his draft spot no matter when you pick him.

    Other Notes

    Rodney Stuckey signed with the Indiana Pacers. Stuckey goes from borderline unusable in Fantasy to having the opportunity to carve out a decent little role. George Hill is far from anything special at the point and Larry Bird emphasized the need to find a guard to “attack the basket” this off-season. Stuckey won’t spend much time doing anything else on offense besides attacking and taking mid-range jumpers but that’s what the Pacers need. Stuckey has proved to be a safe bet for 13-16 points in seasons past, so projecting around 14 ppg in an increased role would be far from a stretch.

    Evan Turner signed with the Boston Celtics. He will be fighting for minutes with Jeff Green, Avery Bradley and Marcus Thornton. Turner found himself in a dream situation on a Philadelphia 76ers team that allowed 110-plus PPG and lacked any scorers. For that reason, Turner produced an incredible 54 game stretch before being pawned off to the Pacers, who fell apart. He will never find that favorable a situation again. The Pacers version of Turner (7.1 PPG, 3.2 REB, 2.4 AST) should be the Turner you get moving forward. He’s worth nothing more than a late round flier.

    Hornets coach Steve Clifford said that although Noah Vonleh has “starter’s talent,” he will not have a significant role next season. The signing of Marvin Williams sealed his fate as a backup in year number one. Cody Zeller may play more to start the season, but unless his game improves rapidly, Vonleh should earn a larger role as the season progresses. Vonleh is a much better bet in dynasty leagues than re-draft at this point, as it may take him until year two or three to crack the Fantasy Top 100.

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