The Italian in America answered the question in Spanish.

"Creo que si, creo que si."

We all knew that Danilo Gallinari was a versatile guy, but wow. The trilingual Nuggets forward, doing an interview with Univision on Tuesday, was asked if this Nuggets team was better than last season's team. Creo que si — I think so. And while others think so, too — due to the addition of Andre Iguodala and hopeful emergence of Ty Lawson as an elite point guard — a key reason might be Gallinari himself.

"When he starts knocking down shots," Lawson said, "we're a hard team to beat."

Gallinari could be the X-factor that helps Denver win the Northwest Division (Oklahoma City lost some oomph with the trade Saturday of James Harden), or at least get Denver to the second round in the playoffs, something it's done only once since 1994.

The Nuggets' season starts Wednesday night at Philadelphia — Gallo is a game-time decision due to a left ankle sprain — and some folks, notably the stat wizards at Basketball Prospectus, think Denver could actually win the Western Conference.

Asked about that forecast, Gallo said, "Yo creo que esta es la motivacion." ("I think this is a motivation.")

Gallo is an X-factor because his celebrated ceiling is so high. Remember, he was averaging 17 points per game before the all-star break a season ago, and a pair of injuries (thumb and ankle-chip fracture) slowed him down. The versatile, 6-foot-10 small forward can play in the post or on the perimeter; he can throw fancy passes and rack up free throws; he's a better defender than given credit for; he's only 24. But, after his injuries a season ago, he never regained his shooting touch.

Read more: Danilo Gallinari believes Nuggets may be better than last year's team - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/nuggets/ci_21892392/danilo-gallinari-believes-nuggets-may-be-better-than#ixzz2Atqk75Iu

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