The Washington Wizards already lacked frontcourt depth. The only three centers they have on the roster are Daniel Gafford, Mike Muscala, and Taj Gibson. How many minutes Gibson and Muscala can play at this stage of their career is a question mark. Then Daniel Gafford went down with an injury and he will likely miss the start of the regular season. This meant that the Wizards had to find another solution for their center rotation. It looks like that is going to be using Danilo Gallinari as a backup center.
However, when asked about it, Gallinari didn’t seem too thrilled about the idea.
Obviously, this answer is tongue-in-cheek. Gallinari is a veteran and he understands what he needs to do for his team. He knows that finding minutes at the power forward will be difficult with Kyle Kuzma and Deni Avdija in the rotation.
Gallinari has never been a good defender, and his struggles on that end have been accentuated with age. He struggles with speed and lateral quickness. At his age and level of athleticism, he can’t guard out on the perimeter. So, moving him inside the paint to guard opposing centers makes more sense. His size and strength would be better utilized against bigger, slower players. As long as he is not put in pick-and-roll situations or against centers who can shoot, Gallinari can be okay defensively, especially in backup units.
However, his value at the 5 will come more on the offensive end. Having a floor-spacer at the center position is an excellent way to juice up your overall offense. It will open up driving lanes for the likes of Bilal Coulibaly and Deni Avdija, who need space to operate. He can be a good pick-and-pop partner for those players as well. That is a nice additional weapon to have offensively.
Gallinari has played center in limited minutes in his previous stops in Atlanta, Oklahoma City, and Los Angeles. He has some experience with it, and those experiments generally worked albeit in short spurts.
That’s all the Wizards need him to do anyway: make it easy for the young guys on the offensive end, and battle with the big men in limited minutes on the other end. If he can manage to do it, he could make a case for himself to be traded to a contender to play a similar role.