On NBA Media Day, the Italian sharpshooter joked with Wizards staffers, answered questions from the local media, and explained one of his goals for the upcoming season: proving that he could still play in the NBA.
“The league has gotten so much younger. I want to prove to everybody—I know I don’t have to prove to myself—but to everybody that I can still hang with these young guys,” Gallinari told FortyEightMinutes and other media members in Washington.
The 35-year-old last saw NBA action with the Hawks during the 2022 playoffs. After two seasons on a crowded roster in Atlanta, he then signed a two-year deal with the Celtics, planning to help the at-the-time reigning Eastern Conference champions get back to the Finals. That plan was derailed by a torn ACL he suffered in FIBA World Cup qualifiers last summer, and after a lost season, Boston traded to the Wizards as part of their Kristaps Porzingis acquisition.
“I didn’t expect (to be on the Wizards) because on Friday, I had a meeting with the team and on Tuesday, they traded me,” Gallinari said about his trade to Washington. “Nothing new to me. Part of the business. Part of the NBA. I’m used to it now. Sometimes it’s for the better and every time there is a chance to have a new chapter and start a new season, it’s always exciting.”
“Every time there’s a new chapter in my career, it’s always exciting.”
Wizards Plan To Play Gallinari At Center
The new chapter for Gallinari involves something he hasn’t done much of in the NBA.
Gallinari began his career playing minutes at the shooting guard spot after being drafted by the Knicks with the No. 6 overall pick back in 2008. Most of his playing time since then has come at the forward positions, though this season, he’s expected to see minutes at the five for the Wizards.
“He’s going to be a stretch big regardless. His ability to shoot the three has been his calling card, which puts most traditional bigs in a bind. He’ll embrace the physicality at that position,” Wes Unseld Jr. told FortyEightMinutes and other media members in attendance at the Wizards practice facility on Tuesday.
“I think it’s learning what we do tactically…getting those reps under his belt. Being able to quarterback the defense from a different perspective, from the bottom up, talking to the guards, articulating demands, kind of a traffic cop. So it’s a different spot from his vantage point of being spaced out at the top of the floor.
With Daniel Gafford out to begin the season (the center is expected to miss 2-to-4 weeks with an elbow injury), it’s possible that Gallinari gets to start for Washington at the five spot to begin the 2023-24 NBA campaign. No matter the role, Gallinari is prepared for the next chapter of his career.
“I’m ready for it, “Whatever needs to be done on the court, whatever position I need to play,” Gallinari explains. “Like I said, I just want to play basketball. So any position is good.”
Danilo Gallinari says he’s “excited” to play with Wizards and help the younger guys in Washington.
Mentioned that playing the 5 more is likely a major part of the next stage of his 🏀 career.