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NBA Denver Nuggets

Denver Nuggets’ Danilo Gallinari Optimistic on Return In December

Danilo Gallinari

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets forward Danilo “The Italian Assassin” Gallinari plans his return to the floor this December. Gallinari tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee on a drive to the basket against the Dallas Mavericks on April 4, 2013 with just six games remaining in the 2012-13 NBA regular season. Needless to say, Gallo was a critical component for the Nuggets in the 2012-13 season averaging 16.2 points per game, 5.2 rebounds per game and 2.5 assists per game. The 6-foot-10, 225 pound power forward from Italy had a fantastic efficiency rating of +15.66 while on the court last season.

To say that Denver missed Danilo’s services in the playoffs would be an immense understatement. He has an innate ability to be a triple-threat while on the floor, meaning he can put the ball on the deck and drive to the rim, pass with ease and shoot the rock from virtually anywhere. Gallo is also masterful in transition and has all of the attributes to continue to grow as a great wing defender.

After losing in the opening round of the NBA playoffs to the lower seeded Golden State Warriors, many people considered Gallinari’s absence as the key component. It would be hard to disagree with this statement. However, Golden State played short-handed as well after losing All-Star David Lee to a strained hip flexor in game one at Pepsi Center. So, you could say the loss of both stars from each roster would be moot, yet Denver remained at a higher disadvantage because they desperately needed another offensive threat as well as a wing defender that could help quiet the loud and spectacular shooting of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. The Nuggets also missed Gallinari’s above average free throw shooting at 82.2 percent. You could say missed free throws cost the team a chance to win the series against the Warriors, and Denver inevitably lost the series 4-2 in some tight contests.

The Nuggets are extremely hopeful that Gallinari will return sometime in December of the new 2013-14 season. The versatile Italian’s return will be a gigantic boost to this already deep roster. And, the ladies won’t mind when Gallo returns because as my wife says, “ooh la la.”

Randy Drautz is a Denver Nuggets writer for RantSports.com.    Follow him on Twitter @RDrautz, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.