As the Denver Nuggets gradually became a stylish pick to make a run at the Western Conference in the 2012-2013, the prevailing storyline was their “lack of a star.” The questions flew around local and national talk shows alike.
Who do they have who can create their shot?
Who takes the last shot?
Who takes over the big games?
How do they beat all of the other teams that have a big star or two?
And so it was a big deal, but not that big a deal, when Danilo Gallinari was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Gallo, along with Ty Lawson, might be as close to a star as they had, but it shouldn’t change the Nuggets’ chances in the grand scheme of things…right? That’s just not the kind of team they had, or so the narrative of the season would have you believe.
It turns out we might have undersold his importance a little bit. It’s hard to say how much of a difference he and his 16.2 PPG would have made in the team’s playoff exit at the hands of the Golden State Warriors, but the Nuggets certainly could have used another guy to score the ball and take the ball to the rim. They were a team that could only live for so long with Andre Iguodala taking lots of shots, after all.
Anyhow, the way the season clunked to its ending without Gallinari highlighted his importance to the franchise moving forward. When he will return this season is a key part of the Nuggets’ hopes for success. In that regard they received good news recently when Gallinari announced that he is targeting a return near the end of November. Here are the quotes from his announcement, courtesy of the Denver Post:
“I’m very happy with how things are going even if the path is still long…It’s been a summer of hard work. Eight hours a day. You see the ball just in picture and the time never passes. But I can see the results of the hard work and according to the doctors I should be ready for the end of November.”
The Nuggets will be coming off an off-season characterized by upheaval, change, and uncertainty, and the sight of Gallinari being back on the floor will be a welcome one when the time arrives.