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ITALIAN DREAMSSARATOGA SPRINGS - In all likelihood, Danilo Gallinari will return to Italy for next season's Knicks' training camp as either a conquering hero or a first-round draft bust. It all depends on whether his back holds up.

The Knicks complete Camp Saratoga today at Skidmore College, perhaps for the last time. Their two-year contract with the college is over, and the NBA wants to send the Knicks to Italy next camp and play two preseason games, including one in Milan.

Knicks president Donnie Walsh said he will find out in December. The Knicks , who face the Nets in Albany tomorrow, have never played in Europe.

"We're on their radar," Walsh said.

"I would love it," said Gallinari, the Milan-born 6-foot-11 forward.

As would Mike D'Antoni, the former Italian League star player and coach. But what the coach would love more is turning the Italian Stallion into a Basketball star.

Yesterday, D'Antoni clarified last week's grand statement in which he called Gallinari "the best shooter I've ever seen." D'Antoni explained he is not calling Gallinari a great scorer, but a great spot-up 3-point marksman, admitting he still cannot create his own shot.

Big difference, and a big problem when the Knicks need a big shot in the big moments.

"He's not one of those guys who can get his own shot," D'Antoni said, explaining why Gallinari may not be certified go-to guy in the final possessions. "He'll have to play off other people who will have to create and pass. A pick and roll, they help and there's Gallo. He's more that type right now."

D'Antoni feels he can develop into the elite status of Hedo Turkoglu, to whom the coach has compared him.

"We'd like for him to get to be Turkoglu-ish where he can pick and roll and create his own stuff," D'Antoni said. "He's not there yet. I don't know if Turkoglu was there either when he was 21.

"Right now, he doesn't have the explosion or speed to get by somebody or create something for someone. In two three years, he'll get stronger. To be honest, that is what will make him really good. If he never gets that, he'll be good player, great shooter. That will separate him."

Though Gallinari has been draining almost everything he tosses up in drills and scrimmages from 3-point land before last night's scrimmage, where he threw up brick after brick, D'Antoni has noticed a tentativeness on both ends, not mixing it up, perhaps protecting his surgically repaired back.

"He's making sure he doesn't overdo it, I hope," D'Antoni said. "You can see he's guarded at times."

Gallinari didn't step on the court during Camp Saratoga last year during a 28-game rookie campaign.

"I don't have feel any pain in my back," Gallinari told The Post. "I feel like I did four days ago - the same."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 6, 2009


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