Nuggets Suffer Blow From Gallinari Loss


HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — Word came down Friday afternoon that the Nuggets’ Danilo Gallinari indeed has a torn ACL in his left knee, an ugly injury suffered in Thursday’s win over the Dallas Mavericks.

It could be a huge blow to the Nuggets and, consequently, to the competitiveness of the Western Conference beyond the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs.

The Nuggets have the league’s best home record (34-3) and the league’s second best record (35-9) since Jan. 1. Since the All-Star break, they have the No. 3 offense and the No. 7 defense.

Gallinari has obviously been a big part of that success. With 51 more 3-pointers than any of his teammates, he’s the one guy who can really space the floor. And Denver has been a better team, both offensively and defensively, with him in the game.

Nuggets efficiency with Gallinari on and off the floor

On/off floor MIN OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg +/-
On floor 2,309 108.8 101.6 +7.2 +334
Off floor 1,379 105.3 103.0 +2.3 +28

OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

The Nuggets with Gallinari on the floor have the point differential of a 62-win team. The Nuggets with Gallinari off the floor have the point differential of a 44-win team.

But, as a starter, Gallinari has played most of his minutes with his best teammates, which can make his make his on-off-court discrepancy look more drastic than his actual value.

Most minutes with Gallinari

Player MIN % of DG’s minutes
Andre Iguodala 1,755 76%
Ty Lawson 1,707 74%
Kenneth Faried 1,569 68%
Kosta Koufos 1,280 55%
Andre Miller 984 43%
Corey Brewer 737 32%
JaVale McGee 586 25%
Wilson Chandler 358 16%

The Nuggets are obviously deeper since Chandler returned in mid-January. Even without Gallinari, they still have three wings – Iguodala, Chandler and Brewer – who George Karl can trust. And Evan Fournier has shown some flashes of an ability to contribute over the last week.

Karl’s ability to go small, however, is now a bit limited. The Nuggets have played 870 minutes with three of the four veteran wings on the floor together, most of those (597) with Gallinari as one of the three. Those have been great minutes for the Nuggets, played at a very fast pace.

Nuggets efficiency with three of Brewer, Chandler, Gallinari & Iguodala on floor

Combination MIN Pace OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg +/-
Including Gallinari 597 100.0 112.9 100.4 +12.5 +108
Brewer + Chandler + Iguodala, no Gallinari 273 100.4 107.1 93.9 +13.2 +51
Total 870 100.1 111.1 98.4 +12.8 +159

Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes

Without Gallinari, the trio of Brewer, Chandler and Iguodala will have to take on a larger load. The good news is that the Nuggets’ defense, as you might expect, has been excellent with those three on the floor together.

The Nuggets still need a healthy Ty Lawson to pose a serious threat to the top two teams in the West, but improved defense could help absorb the loss of their second leading scorer.


John Schuhmann is a staff writer for Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.


  1. Eaglos says:

    Huge blow for Denver which will also affect them at least for another season.
    It will be very hard for Gallinari to recover, look at how long it is taking Rose
    to come back and consider that he is shorter and lighter…

  2. googergieger says:

    Okay stats courtesy of synergy.

    Gallo on 158 plays has held his opposition to .64 point per possession on isolations. I.E. One on one defense.

    Lebron James on 123 plays has held his opposition to .82.

    Luo Deng on 112 plays has held his to .87.

    Paul George on 162 plays has held his to .72.

    Artest? 106 plays and .75.

    Kevin Durant who is called an improved and good defender all of a sudden on 161 plays holds his opponents to .76.

    And consider the fact Gallo doesn’t have the reputation of being a defensive stopper so he doesn’t get leeway with the refs. Heck Lebron never gets fouls called on him and Gallo still blows him away when it comes to one on one defense. And this is playing at Denver’s pace by the way. These are all guys that are considered better defenders than Gallo by the way, by the league and for some inexplicable reason most Denver “fans” as well. Heck at his position I’ve yet to find someone that defends one on one situations better.

    Can this team still win without Gallo? In the first round? Easily. In the second? Maybe. But if you want to say Gallo is just a spot up shooter who is streaky, therefore expendable, well you need to realize he is a lot more than just that. In fact he isn’t even that. He is one of the best two way guys in this league, and if you judge him on that and not just the one thing, you can see why he will be missed and why he is incredibly underrated by most, including so called Denver fans.

    • dattebayo says:

      These stats are only comparable, when those guys all defended scorers with the same isolation scoring ability, meaning roughly the same PPP scored on isolation plays. If that’s the case, Gallo is clearly the best isolation defender of all those players. However, if Gallo defended scorers, that only average .7 PPP on isolation plays, his impact on defense would only be .06. If Luol Deng defended players that average 1 PPP on isolation plays, his defensive impact would be bigger than Gallos. Luol Deng would give up more points defending isolations, but he would have guarded players, that are better isolation scorers.

      Is there a stat that tells you how a player impacts the scoring on isolation plays? I mean, if Gallinari defends any player on an isolation play, he drops that players PPP on isolation plays by 0.1. That stat would be more significant in terms of how good a defender is on those isolation plays, right?

      • googergieger says:

        I replied but apparently it wasn’t approved or it dissapeared or something. But pretty much and isolation happens when the offensive player thinks he can take you. Gallo always starts off on small forwards and in Denver’s switch heavy defense, he’ll defend anyone and everyone like everyone on Denver does. So when he gets switched on Westbrook, Westbrook will attack him, same as if Deng switches on Westbrook. On synergy you can click on the individual defensive plays of players as well.

  3. Big Al says:

    Get Iverson on board to see the playoffs through. No Lawson and Gallinari = Round 1 exit

  4. CarstenLawson says:

    Wow. That moment showed me how quick your fortune can turn upside down. So sorry for Danilo since he proved the sceptics wrong about his abilities. He still is the primary shottaker for DEN. I wish him all the best and a quick recovery, we’ll need him on the court as soon as possible. Let’s hope Ty’s injury won’t be to serious, so they can make on last push to gather homecourt. LET’S GO NUGGETS!!

  5. the sherriff says:

    Monster loss for the team’s chances to go deep in the playoffs

  6. Giovanni says:

    Best best wishes from Italy. With so many injuried in the teams and increasing in the last years, don’t you think it’s time for NBA to think to a less than 82-games regular season to save players health and franchises business?

  7. riccardo says:

    i have to quote googergieger. nuggets is a non-protected team from the league! they are a great team without a single star but made of a bunch of good players that play well together.
    it was unfair in the first spot that, even if nuggets was one of the best team in the nba for their record, none of their players was called to the all star game. why? cause there’s no “selling machine” player in the team! nba is a show, you dont sell, you are “out”. you can play well, your team can accomplish a straight of victory second only to one of a team made of 3 superstars, but still you will covered in the dark.
    gallo is one of those good players. can nuggets survive to this loss? maybe. or maybe not! in my humble opinion, they had a chance to arrive to conference finals without 2 big injuries like gallo’s and ty’s. now it will be hard, but they are still a team. let’s see! hope that next year will be this nice as well for them!
    and gallo, please: spacca i culi a tutti! 🙂

  8. Francesco says:

    Get well soon Gallo! #FORZAGALLO

  9. brooklyn says:

    this is very sad news .. hope you recover well Galo

  10. Mago says:

    Danilo, sei uno con 2 palle così
    Non é che una nube su un futuro radioso. Forza ragazzo

  11. Chris says:

    You hate to see any player go down. I was looking forward to seeing the wolves do some damage, bam they’re down. I was looking forward to seeing the Nuggets really make some noise in the playoff, I’m not a real fan but I love to see teams come out of nowhere, they make the game fun, but now they’re suffering injuries. Spurs are my favorite team, bam Parker and Ginoboli.. I wouldn’t wish injuries on any player no matter hat team. I hate to say it but it really does look like this is the heat’s year, looks like the stars are aligning perfectly to spell “HEAT”

  12. googergieger says:

    I tried posting a comment earlier about how the league needs to get rid of the 82 game schedule already and eliminate back to backs in general and it wasn’t approved, so chances are this one won’t either, but again…

    There is no point to the 82 game season and back to backs. Beyond greed. Not saying this injury could have been avoided, but on top of the 82 games and back to backs, you give Denver the worst schedule in over twenty years. They came out of the gate digging themselves out of a hole whoever makes the schedule put them in. With a fair schedule or even sane schedule, Denver would have the third seed locked by now and probably fighting for the first seed in general. On top of which, it is unfair, unfathomable, and illogical that Denver is setting a league record for most points in the paint averaged in a single season, and yet are third in free throw attempts. Again it is illogical. Unfathomable. League protects OKC, Miami, Clips, and other teams with soft ball schedules and fouls called on their defenders before contact is made just on the off chance contact will be made, but a team like Denver had it’s first 17 of 23 on the road on mostly back to backs against competition that was rested and playoff bound.

    Gallo is the Nuggets best two way player and one of the better two way guys in the league. He isn’t Lebron James level of dominant in multiple categories but Gallo wasn’t bad at anything. He was good at everything. Very underrated defender as well. Look at his synergy stats in isolations. And that is taking into account Denver’s second fastest pace in the league. Tough blow for Gallo and Denver. I hope the kid comes back next year stronger and that people start giving him and this team their props. They deserve respect and a fair shot to compete in this league!

    • dattebayo says:

      There is little chance for reducing the schedule in terms of less games, because less games equals less revenues and less money and both owners and players would be profoundly against that. I agree though, that they should reduce or get rid of those back-to-back games and those 4 games in 5 nights. If they cancel the preaseason and stretch the 82 games over a larger time frame, that might be worth looking into.

      Denver doesn’t have the worst schedule in the league, by the way. Yes, they had a lot of road games early in the season, but that meant a lot of home games in January until mid February and at Game #50 they were tied with 25 games at home and on the road. Denver has only 17 back-to-backs this season (20 teams have more than that) and they play 3 games in 4 nights a league low 21 times. The Timberwolves have 5 back-to-backs more and they play 3 games in 4 nights 11 more times.

    • bullsfan0218 says:

      Denver gets most of its points in the paint by outrunning their opponents and getting into the paint for layups and dunks they aren’t neccesarily taking a lot of contact on their way to the rim. Plus third in free throw attempts is pretty good.

  13. RondoFan says:

    It’s crazy how common ACL tears are becoming in the NBA.

  14. dink says:

    this is a huge loss for the nugs , if any team didn’t deserve this its them . I wish this would happen to some people on the heat .

    • jake says:

      yeah, any injury is unfortunate, but how dare you wish injury on another player. just because the heat are a successful wish some of their guys get injured? these dudes dedicate their lives to this game and to see even rival players go down is a sad thing. next time think twice before you post some stupid ignorant comment like that

    • Abdullah says:

      com on maaan, that is just uncalled for !!!!

    • Anybody But Heat says:

      Amen to both comments

    • Grouch says:

      No injury is good for any player for that matter. These players have a life to live and this is their source of living. So i agree with the rest, be careful with what you say…..i know you didn’t mean it.

    • gardo says:

      yea man totally uncall for as much as i hate boston and the lakers i would never wish any of there players to get injured. cuz you would want to beat a team at there full strength.

  15. Court Vision: Can the Nuggets cope without Danilo Gallinari? | The Point Forward - says:

    […]  John Schuhmann of notes the statistical impact from the injury, as well as a rotation change forced by Gallinari’s […]

  16. Oakley34BLAM says:

    Very sorry to hear about Galo’s injury…hope he comes back strong. That said…this team is deep and versatile as hell…and deep at his position. They are worse off without him, but they defend and play excellently at home…they can make some post-season impact. There success arguably hinges more on Lawson’s status, but I won’t count these guys out.

  17. Sideline Mob says:

    It’s absolutely a big loss for Denver – who’s going to flop for them now?

  18. babilicious says:

    it’s so unfair!!!!!!!!!!!!nuggets are so hot…

  19. Get well soon man!

  20. Someone... says:

    Wow He got injured at the exact right time, right before the Rockets play them Nuggets Saturday. I am not saying that I am a fan of injuries, but this certainly will help us tomorrow. #Rednation

  21. Get well soon, I hoe u get to play next yr like Rubio did