Excuse me if you have heard this story before. Player is drafted by the New York Knicks in the first round and boos rain down. We know the track record for making the correct draft choice doesn’t exactly exist for the Knicks so the initial reaction is generally anger.
What follows then is likely over inflated expectations which then leads to inconsistent performance. Before you know it said player is traded to a new team and then ends up having a solid career. Yes, I have seen this story too many times so there is some bias here, but Danilo Gallinari is one example.
Gallinari has put together a solid career and he parlayed that into a three-year, $61.5 million contract with the Atlanta Hawks this off-season. Before we rush off to judgement based on the contract let’s take a look at what we saw from the forward last season.
Last year pushed Gallinari to the limit as far as his offensive potential. On a team lacking for true options, Gallinari was pushed to the forefront. He was busy attempting an average of 13 shots per game which was the second highest total of his career and he parlayed that into 18.7 points per game. That was just shy of his career high of 19.8 from a year prior but that might be it as far as Gallinari’s ceiling can take him.
Now there is nothing wrong 20 points and five or six rebounds per game with a few assists mixed in but we have to be reasonable regarding our expectations. Are the opportunities there for him to reach his full levels of production? Just because the Hawks gave him almost $21 million per season it doesn’t mean that is how he should be valued for DFS purposes.
For the most part Gallinari hasn’t played much more than 30 or so minutes per game and that appears to be the maximum he can handle to this point in his career. Based on the aforementioned contract you might have one set of expectations for Gallinari but the Hawks have a different idea. The current plan is to have Gallinari come off the bench behind John Collins but 28 to 30 minutes of playing time per night is still a very plausible forecast.
Now what will Gallinari do with that playing time?
Things will be different in Atlanta and that starts at the top with Trae Young. The rookie averaged 29.6 points per game last season and we know that putting up points, and shots for that matter, is strength as Young averaged 21 shot attempts per game last season. Atlanta also imported wing option Bogdan Bogdanovic who averaged 15 points per game last season on 13 shots.
Gallinari needs to score to have true DFS value and while he will likely be consistent on a game to game basis, the upside here is limited. Based on his production, Gallinari won’t come cheap and he often is in that medium price range. That is not to say he doesn’t have a place in your lineup but Gallinari is more of a cash game play that GPP option based on the reliable floor and lack of upside.
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