On August 28, I was sitting on a beach on the Costa del Sol, soaking up the sun on vacation. To the left of my sun lounger, I see my phone lights up with a notification. Danilo Gallinari was injured while playing in the European League for Italy, and it looks very dangerous. Being on vacation, I chose not to embark on the social media cycle that would undoubtedly follow, and to wait for a medical evaluation – I mean, it was literally my first day of absence.
Within a day, reports emerged that Gallinari had suffered a sprained MCL. It’s not perfect, but it’s far from the worst case scenario.
A few days later, the hammer blow came. After further testing, it has been confirmed that Gallinari has indeed suffered a ruptured ACL, and is likely to miss the season. At this point, I was sitting on my hotel balcony drinking rum and Coca-Cola, watching the boats sail across the ocean. I had time. And so, I took to social media to share my opinion.
Just watched Gallo’s news – an incredibly difficult result for him and Team C. Gotta wish Gallo a full and healthy recovery.
On the Celtics side, the addition of Milo has never made more sense – of course IMO
Adam Taylor (AdamTaylorNBA) September 2, 2022
Let me enforce that by admitting that I’ve always been a fan of Milo. I grew up worshiping his shooting mechanics, his ability to dominate as a pure marksman, and I always rooted for the guy to eventually get out of his own way and allow himself to be a cog in the championship machine.
However, the fan base has little bearing on my belief that Anthony is the right man to fill the Gallinari-like void in Boston. In fact, adding Anthony is something I’ve been advocating since the start of the unofficial season – Check out CelticsPod podcast for receipts.
The first thing people think of when talking about adding Anthony to the spin is that he’d probably be an annoying addition to the locker room. However, that’s old Milo, and over the past three seasons, he’s proven to be more team-oriented.
“That’s what works for this team, what we need for this team… I had to swallow that pill. I had to be really honest and transparent with the team and the organization… If I sit here and say the idea of it wasn’t hard or hard to hear and let it play with your pride and ego ‘Yes it is. Especially coming from someone like me. But I had to take a deep breath and find out,’ Anthony told ESPN shortly after agreeing to re-sign with the Portland Trail Blazers in 2020, in what would be the first full-time role on the bench in his career.
Since then, Anthony has made 138 NBA games, coming off the bench for 132 of them. We haven’t once heard of any dissatisfaction with the player’s camp or any gurgling of a locker room glitch due to him being in the roster. Instead, Anthony was a perfect veteran, playing the bench scorer to the best of his ability, adding some extra veteran know-how.
The numbers support this.
During those 138 matches, Anthony has achieved Averaged 5.2 three-pointers per game, with a 39.1% conversion with 21.9% of his crime is a threat to be arrested and shot. Simply put, the former All-Star embraced a larger off-ball role in his twilight years and is sticking to the script of being a release valve for attack.
And when his perimeter scoring doesn’t come straight from the catch, it comes thanks to pick-and-pop combos, which due to its slick scoring open drive lanes for ball pitches and/or off-ball cutouts. You see, Anthony may have passed the prime of his life, but no defender in the NBA is worth all that salt that would leave this guy unchecked in the ocean.
When thinking about what role Gallinari will be asked to play next season, these two types of play are the most prominent areas where we would have seen the talented striker display his skills. The fact that Anthony is able to provide similar output at a reliable clip should not go unnoticed — especially if Boston is looking for an additional shooter to open the floor for budding third-corner specialist, Grant Williams.
Let’s be real, though. When you’re talking about adding Anthony to your list, you should be prepared to ramp up the mid-range attempts, either from the elbows, or the famous courtesy of the after-fade.
Although scoring has been one of Anthony’s most used types of play since his transition to the bench role, there’s still one aspect of his game that excels – and that’s work from post-up. In fact, According to Instat’s tracking data, over the past two seasons, 23.3% of Anthony’s total offenses have come from undoing his man.
We’ve all seen some iterations of this move over the years, and at times, we’re used to Jayson Tatum doing his best from similar places on Earth. However, for someone like Anthony, who is adept at creating the necessary shooting space, or serving as a delivery port for the winger, there is nowhere you’d rather have the ball in his hands.
However, the real value of Anthony in or around the block is his ability to control his space and punish defenders who choose to ‘face the post’ – something only many years in the league can learn.
While Gallinari is more than just a barefoot scorer, Anthony brings the image of a multi-faceted shot that could help lift Boston’s bench unit, especially after last season’s slumps. Suddenly you have a pure scorer capable of hurting teams from deep or middle as he shot 48% last season, in glass cleaning.
Defensively, Anthony, like Gallinari, gives you an extra body to fight opposing teams when they get physical, but in reality, none of the veteran warriors has ever been an effective member of the spin on the defensive end of the Earth. Gallinari’s only saving grace was that his height would always allow him to be a shot deterrent in fall defense while Anthony was more than an assistant on the weak side who could spin to the scorers.
However, Gallinari was never acquired for his defensive presence, but instead to deliver an extra punch for scoring off the bench, as well as to help free up space on the floor. Now, with Gallinari out of the season — or at least the lion’s share of it, Anthony is the best possible candidate to take the role without throwing Boston deeper into the luxury tax territory.
And if I’m honest, no veteran is better equipped to step into the role the Celtics envisioned for Gallinari, so it would make perfect sense for Brad Stevens to pounce to add the veteran star in the coming weeks. Personally, I’m cheering for Carmelo Anthony in the Celtics Green next season.