Danilo Gallinari or Gordon Hayward? Who you got?
Welcome to weekly discussion dedicated to the philosophical theories of who would win in a game of one-on-one between two current NBA players.
This week we pitch two promising small forwards in Danilo Gallinari and Gordon Hayward together and try to determine a winner.
Let’s start with the Denver sharp shooter, Danilo Gallinari, aka Rooster.
Danilo Gallinari (Denver Nuggets)
Gallo was a revelation in New York in his first few years and was praised by Mike D’Antoni as one of the best shooters in the NBA.
After the Carmelo Anthony trade that saw Gallinari move to Denver, his role wasn’t clearly defined given Denver’s deep roster, but after a few setbacks he showed us why he is a highly rated prospect.
Standing at 6’10”, Gallo has great height for small forward position, and this height makes it easier to shoot over smaller defenders, contributing to his 37 percent career three-point shooting.
While his game has historically been about perimeter shooting, last season he showed us some versatility in driving to the basket hard and trying to take defenders on.
- Above average shooter with great range.
- Tall, solid body that can overpower average sized defenders.
- Powerful force when he gets some room and takes it to the basket.
- His dribbling motion is a bit slow so he can turn the ball over on drives to the basket.
- In isolation defensive situations his lack of speed is a disadvantage when guarding smaller players.
Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz)
Hayward has quietly been building his skill set and experience in the NBA after becoming the darling of the 2010 NBA Draft following a NCAA Finals appearance with Butler.
Many predicted that his high draft position (ninth) was the result of unexpected NCAA success and he would be nothing more than a bench player.
Looking at the difference from his rookie year to now it is clear that Hayward has worked hard to be an NBA quality starter with plenty of improvement still left in his game.
His unique skill set for a 6’8” forward is a result of early expectations about his height. Both his mother and father are sub six foot so naturally you would expect Hayward to be of similar size.
The result of this is a guard in a forwards body after an eight inch growth spurt in his final two years at high school, reminding me a bit of Charles Barkley.
If he keeps working at his game then expect Hayward to be an NBA starter for the next decade.
- Complete skill set combining a good handle, good size and high basketball IQ.
- Above average three-point shooter (40 percent career).
- Great hustle player that really enjoys doing the hard work and little things
- Can be a little passive on the court at times.
- Needs to be more consistent in order to take the next step.
With two up-and-coming stars that are still developing, it would be an exciting duel to watch.
Gallinari has the size, power and shooting to challenge Hayward but Hayward has the versatility and smarts to handle the pressure.
Hayward has showed enough last season that would suggest that his game is reaching another level.
Given his superior range of skills and defensive abilities, I am giving this game to the scrappy country boy from Utah.