http://www.denverpost.com/nuggets/ci_21684696/nuggets-forward-danilo-gallinari-aims-more-production-thisRemember Danilo Gallinari in Game 7 against the Lakers?
Neither do we.
He was out there, though, logging 26 forgettable minutes in the Nuggets' season-ending, first-round loss to Los Angeles.
In the days after his 1-for-9 showing, Gallo was visually emotional because of the game, speaking candidly about his motivation for the summer.
And now, summer's over, and Gallinari is back in Nuggets camp, refreshed and refocused, healthy and hungry.
"I think I can improve some stats and definitely I want to improve my 3-point percentage," the starting small forward said Tuesday after the Nuggets' first workout of training camp. "I've been working a lot on my shot."
Most training camp stories sound the same guy has a good summer and is poised for a big season. But here's why it's not a cliché with Gallo.
For one, he was putting up notably numbers before the first of two injuries last season, averaging 17 points per game on 44.2 percent shooting before the all-star break.
Second, consider the addition of Andre Iguodala, who potentially could demand a double-team here and there — or at least, as coach George Karl will sometimes say, "one-and-a-half defenders." This could open up Gallo for, well, open looks.
And third, the 3. In his first big-minutes NBA season, 2009-10, the 6-foot-10 Italian shot 38.1 percent from beyond the arc. He dipped a little, and then in 2011-12, hide your children — he shot 32.8 percent. There were 105 NBA players who shot better from 3.
"I just think he had a down year last year and was hit with injuries," Karl said Tuesday. "He got off to a good flow but never regained it. I think he's determined — he has a committed determination. He didn't like what happened last year, he didn't like how he played at the end. I think he had a good summer with the national team, and it will be fun to see he and Ty Lawson, two of our young talents. When are they going to make that step, and how big a step will they make? I think we're all anxious to find out."
Gallinari had a productive summer in his native Italy, helping his national team notch an 8-0 record in a tournament that qualified them for the European Championships next summer. He also hosted his first camp for kids, and he invited Denver assistant coach Melvin Hunt and strength and conditioning coach Steve Hess to help coach the camp and also coach him.
"We also went out to dinner every night," Gallinari said, "but probably one or two nights we didn't go because we were eating so much, they stayed in their hotel because they thought they should go on a diet."
When Gallinari came to Denver, the image folks had of the Knicks forward was his floating a feathery 3. Nuggets faithful soon saw that he notched points other ways, notably as a bulldozer. Last season, he shot 87.1 percent from the foul line, but his attempts were down, perhaps due to him still recovering from his midseason ankle injury.
"He's just got to be more aggressive," teammate Corey Brewer said. "We're going to put the ball in his hands, so he's got to make plays. As long as he's aggressive, he'll be good.