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By Zamir Bueno
Mar. 08, 2017

Even though many media members think that the Oklahoma City Thunder will pursue Blake Griffin this off-season to be the sidekick of Russell Westbrook, they would be better off pursuing Danilo Gallinari. Throughout this season, the Oklahoma City Thunder have implemented an offensive system that is heavily dependent on the post up as well as the pick and roll. For instance, Russell Westbrook will often bring the ball up to the three-point line and pass it to Steven Adams or Enes Kanter in the low post. If Adams or Kanter are facing single coverage, they will back down the defender with their left shoulder and shoot a hook or layup. On the other hand, if they are double teamed, they will pass the ball out to the perimeter or a player close to the basket. However, the opposing team will attempt to make them kick the ball out to the perimeter because they are aware that the Thunder doesn't have enough players who can consistently make a three-pointer. As a result, the opposing team will clog up the paint and force them to pass it out for an inefficient three-pointer.

However, there are occasions where the team will call a pick and roll to keep the opposing team from predicting what is coming next. For instance, Russell Westbrook will bring the ball up to the three-point line and a big man will set a screen. Once the screen was set Westbrook will pay attention to his defender to determine the next course of action, for example, if the defender went under the screen, Westbrook will go over the screen and take the wide open shot. On the other hand, if the defender went over the screen, Westbrook will go over the screen as well and drive towards the basket where he will score or pass the ball to the player next to him or to the perimeter depending on whether he was double teamed or not. But in these situations, the opposing team will tell their players to go under the screen because they want to encourage Westbrook to shoot the wide open three.

[Oklahoma City Thunder vs Phoenix Suns - Full Game Highlights | March 3, 2017 | 2016-17 NBA Season]

[Oklahoma City Thunder vs Dallas Mavericks - Full Highlights | March 5, 2017 | 2016-17 NBA Season]

Therefore, Danilo Gallinari would be an ideal sidekick to Russell Westbrook if he decides to decline a $16.1 million player option because Gallinari is a player who likes to shoot from behind the arc. In fact, during his nine seasons in the NBA, he has taken 44.7 percent of his shots from behind the three-point line. Furthermore, he is shooting 36.8 percent from the three-point line for his career which includes shooting 38.5 percent the season. As a result, the opposing team won't be able to clog the paint as much because they have to honor Gallinari's shooting ability by sending a player out there. This will give the rest of the team more open space to attack the basket. Not only will Gallinari space the floor for the Thunder but he also is a player who can post up. For instance, he will receive the ball in the mid to low block which would allow him to use his body to back up the defender thus creating the separation for the turnaround or face up jumper.

[Danilo Gallinari Full Highlights 2016.12.15 vs Blazers - 27 Pts.]

[Danilo Gallinari 32 Points Full Highlights (1/28/2017)]