Sportswriter Enrico Cellini joins the BallinEurope team officially today with his thoughts on the tricky difficulties Emporio Armani Milano and its mastermind Sergio Scariolo may be facing in assimilating quite probably the top player in Italian professional basketball, Danilo Gallinari.
Coach Sergio Scariolo recently won a European championship with the Spanish national team. He then moved to Milan where major stylist and basketball owner Giorgio Armani welcomed him with a renewed and ambitious roster of elite Euroleague players. Then the NBA lockout went south and Danilo Gallinari decided to bring his talents back to the Milan Cathedral (kinda).
A blessing for Emporio Armani Milan? No doubt. Best-case scenario for coach Scariolo? Not really…
Scariolo is afraid to build a Gallinari-centric team, which would need to be revolutionized should Gallinari return to the Denver Nuggets down the stretch. In interview with the Italian magazine Superbasket, Milan coach admitted: “I can’t ignore that he could leave at any moment. It is a weird situation: We have him but we don’t know how to rightly play him.”
Despite his supposed status as the best player in the league, “Il Gallo” (or “The Rooster”) is starting from off the bench and is averaging only 19 minutes per game in Serie A play.
In European basketball, Gallinari can play either small and power forward positions. EA7 Milan had already invested a lot and has plenty of versatile players who can cover both spots as well: Stefano Mancinelli, Antonis Fotsis (the former Memphis Grizzly) and Malik Hairston (the former San Antonio Spur) were the initial plans for those positions and “will certainly arrive at the end of the season,” claimed Scariolo.
In two Euroleague games, Gallinari played more minutes and paid the team back with good numbers: 23 points, 10 fouls received in 33 minutes in the victory against Maccabi Tel Aviv; points, eight rebounds and 10 fouls received in 27 minutes in the losing effort against Real Madrid. Said Scariolo: “That’s what we took him for, to play in the Euroleague,” adding that “he understands this situation and comforts me. You can really see he really cares, he never saves himself. He’s perfect.”
So perfect Milan can’t afford to get used to him.
Enrico Cellini is a long-time sportswriter with a focus on Italian and Spanish basketball. His Italian-language blog is called < a href=”http://hoopaddicted.wordpress.com/”>Hoop Addicted.