Nuggets interim coach Melvin Hunt is encouraged by the recent strong play of Danilo Gallinari as the player continues to make his way back from injury, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post writes. “He could become better, he could become a smarter player,” Hunt said. “Athleticism can be honed. I’m just thankful for him to have time. He may not be the same, but a lot of the great players, when they come back from injury, they add something, they’ll subtract something, they’ll emphasize something. He’s no different. He knows what his weapon is, his ability to shoot the ball. But he’s putting together a nice little package of drives, finding other guys — and he’s an underrated passer. Gallo is going to figure out ways to reinvent himself. I’m not worried about Gallo at all.”
Here’s more out of the Northwest Division:
- Will Barton is set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the season, but the swingman has no desire to leave the Nuggets, Dempey writes in a separate article. “No doubt,” Barton said. “I think we can build something here. We have a lot of good talent, a good organization, coaching staff is good. I can see us building and having a strong future here. We can grow together.” Barton was acquired by Denver in a deadline trade, and he has averaged 12.2 points and 4.4 rebounds since joining the Nuggets.
- Hunt believes that Barton possesses the skills to be a productive player in the NBA for years, Dempsey adds. “For sure,” Hunt said. “He has an NBA skill: play hard. As long as he has that, the other things are gravy. In his short time with us, we’ve seen him make threes, we’ve seen him have spectacular dunks, we’ve seen him have big blocked shots, we’ve seen him get a technical because he was just angry. He’s shown that he has a lot of things in his toolkit.”
- The Timberwolves, despite their 16-54 record, aren’t considering tanking for a better draft spot, Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press tweets. Team owner Glen Taylor was at the forefront this preseason in the push for new plans to discourage tanking, Krawczynski notes.