Celtics Sharpshooter Primed for Historic Season

Derrick White (bottom left), Boston Celtics

Getty Derrick White (bottom left), Boston Celtics

During his prime days, Danilo Gallinari’s teams relied on him to carry most of the scoring load. The New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets, and Los Angeles Clippers depended on him to consistently score in double digits to have a chance. That won’t be the case with the Boston Celtics. With Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Malcolm Brogdon by his side, Gallinari won’t have to score as much as he previously would. That’s why he just might be in for his most efficient season ever.

Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report believes that, because he’s in a reduced role with the Celtics, Gallinari could enter the prestigious 50-40-90 club. For those unfamiliar, the 50-40-90 club refers to when a basketball player shoots 50 percent or higher from the field, 40 percent or higher from three-point land, and 90 percent or higher from the free throw line.

He has posted a three-point percentage north of 40 in four different seasons. His career 38.2 percent splash rate ranks 41st among the 137 players with at least 1,000 career triples, per Stathead.com.

He’s a brilliant foul shooter, too, plus a matchup problem for opponents. His 6’10” frame allows him to launch over smaller defenders, and he’s too slippery for many stoppers his size. Given his touch and his skills, he should probably have better than his 42.8 career field-goal percentage.

Maybe it will all click in Boston. This could be the lowest he has ever landed on the offensive hierarchy, which means opposing teams can’t pay him too much attention. That should yield him more open looks than ever, and a marksman like him can feast on those chances. If everything breaks right and he avoids any age-related decline, he could make a run at his first ever 50/40/90 shooting slash.

Part of the reason why accomplishing this feat is doable on Gallinari’s part is that he has come close in the past.

Gallinari’s Most Efficient Season

As Buckley alluded to, Gallinari has proven himself to be a three-point marksman – a career 38.2 percent shooter from distance – and free throw shooter – a career 87.7 percent shooter from the stripe. It’s his overall field goal percentage – a career 42.8 percent shooter from the field – that has held him back from potentially reaching the 50-40-90 club.

However, there was one season where he came close to reaching it – the 2018-19 season, which was his second and final year with the Clippers. That season, he shot 46.3 percent from the field, 40.5 percent from three, and 90.4 percent from the field.

Danilo Gallinari's Top Plays of the 2018-19 SeasonAll of the best from Gallo's career season in LA. Subscribe for access to exclusive interviews, game highlights, original content, and more!2019-05-10T01:00:02Z

Gallinari was the Clippers’ third-highest scorer that season, scoring 19.8 points a game, which was just behind Tobias Harris – who was traded mid-season – and Lou Williams. Gallinari has shown he is capable of being efficient scoring-wise when he is among the more featured players. Now we’ll see what he can do in a lesser role on a team coming off a finals run.

Ironically, one of Gallinari’s new teammates is among the very few NBA players who have accomplished the 50-40-90 feat.

Buckley’s Expectations for Malcolm Brogdon

Malcolm Brogdon completed the rare 50-40-90 feat during the 2018-19 season with the Milwaukee Bucks when he shot 50.5 percent from the field, 42.6 percent from three, and 92.8 percent from the field. While he could do that again in Boston, Buckley believes that Brogdon could have a healthier season in Boston than he did in Indiana to the point where he’ll play the most minutes on the team behind Tatum and Brown.

In each of the past three seasons, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have respectively ranked first and second in minutes per game for the Celtics. There is zero reason to believe that changes in 2022-23.

What could be different, though, is the emergence of a new face in the No. 3 spot: Malcolm Brogdon…

The one major issue is health, as he played just 36 games last season and hasn’t made 60-plus appearances in a single campaign since 2018-19. Nothing other than optimism suggests he can bury those medical maladies, but the offseason is a time of maximum optimism, so let’s expect the best here.

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