It appears that Danilo Gallinari’s only appearance in official offseason basketball will be his participation in the NBA Africa game earlier this month. Yesterday, he announced that he would not be playing in the FIBA World Cup qualifying games later this summer for his native Italy, instead focusing on preparing for the upcoming NBA season.
This has to be great news for the Clippers (he consulted them in this decision), who desperately need Gallinari to be healthy in order to accomplish their goal of making the playoffs. While Danilo might keep himself in better game condition by playing in these games, it also increases his chance of getting injured, and the last thing the Clippers need is for him to get injured before the season even starts. Instead, he will be training and practicing under their watchful eyes, and they’ll be doing everything they can to ensure he’s ready for training camp.
Having their players appear in international games is an exciting prospect for NBA fans, and it provides something to whet their appetites in the dog days of September. This is even more true when the players are young, and putting in work with national teams can really help take them to the next level. Unfortunately, Danilo is no longer young (he turned 30 earlier this month— happy birthday Gallo!), and his injury-proneness makes his playing overseas a real risk.
The final interesting nugget to Gallo’s announcement: he wants to take on more of a leadership role this year. That’s great to hear from Danilo, who is one of the most experienced and decorated players on the team, and who can definitely help some of the Clippers’ youngsters develop.
Here’s hoping this decision pays off, and Danilo enters the NBA season healthy and ready to go.