Jimmy Butler, Krys Faber

NBA Draft: Second rounders you hope your team gets

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Every year somebody gets drafted in the second round and by December we’re already asking how so many teams missed on him. Call it the Landry Fields effect.

It’s impossible to predict who that will be out of the 2011 NBA Draft, but we can take a few guesses.

Here are some second rounders to watch — and to be happy when your team drafts him.

Jimmy Butler, 6’8” small forward, Marquette: Everybody wants this guy to make it. He has one of the best stories in the draft — kicked out of his home by his mother at 13 and made homeless, living on friends couches (playing hoops at the local high school) until a family took him in, ala the “Blind Side.” Thing is, the guy can play and impressed teams at his workouts. He actually has a little Landry Fields in him — one of those guys who can do a little bit of everything well. The key is he can defend so that should get him minutes.

Malcolm Lee, 6’5” shooting guard, UCLA: Speaking of guys who can defend — other teams have been bringing him in to work with the elite guys in this draft, because they know Lee will make them work or it. He’s long and athletic and guys who come out of UCLA seem to blossom as a pro in a way they do not for Ben Howland. He’s got to improve his shot — he hit just 29.5 percent from three last year.

E’Twaun Moore, 6’4” shooting guard, Purdue: He is a favorite second round sleeper for a lot of teams. If you can get a shooter in the second round that’s a winner, and he has NBA range (40 percent from three last season). Another guy with a well-rounded game. He’s not an explosive athlete and a bit small for the position, but he just plays tough.

Malcolm Thomas, 6’9” power forward, San Diego State: He was overshadowed by Kawhi Leonard but Thomas is a smooth player and good athlete who can finish at the rim. He is long, can defend and is a good shot blocker. There are concerns about his size at the four, and he doesn’t have an offensive game outside the paint (his offense is pretty raw generally) but teams are intrigued with his potential.

Diante Garrett, 6’4” point guard, Iowa State: He wasn’t drawing a lot of interest during the season, but when he got into workouts (starting at Portsmouth Invitational) teams liked what they saw. He’s a tall point guard with a quick first step. His natural inclination is to be a facilitator, but he needs to improve his shot and cut down the turnovers. This is a guy that may spend a year in the D-League, but a few years from now may be a quality rotation player.

Gallinari ready to take big role in new Nuggets offense

Danilo Gallinari, Jimmy Butler
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DENVER (AP) — Danilo Gallinari wants everyone to know this: His surgically repaired left knee, the one that took three procedures to fix and nearly two seasons to fully trust, no longer bothers him.

The Denver Nuggets forward doesn’t need to be on any sort of minutes restriction. He doesn’t need days off during the season. And he certainly doesn’t need to be coddled.

He’s Gallo again, the hard-to-guard Italian playmaker who can knock down the 3-pointer just as easily as drive to the hoop or even post up. He believes he will fit in quite nicely into new coach Michael Malone’s system.

“The thing I’m focused on is trying to get (this team) back to the same level that the Nuggets were when I got to Denver, when we were going to the playoffs easy. When we were clinching a playoff one or two weeks before the season was over,” said Gallinari, who was acquired in the 2011 blockbuster deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. “We need to get back to that level.”

Almost seems so long ago, given that the Nuggets have missed the playoffs two straight seasons after consistently making it for nearly a decade.

Gallinari returned last season for the first time since blowing out his knee in a game on April 4, 2013. His minutes were closely monitored early in the season. He never really got completely on track until late last season, when he averaged 20.5 points over the final 10 contests, including a career-high 47 against Dallas. He’s hoping to carry that kind of confidence this season.

“I’m good to go. I was good to go as soon as the beginning of last year,” Gallinari said. “I was not on the same page with the coach that we had.”

That would be Brian Shaw, who was fired last March after 1 1/2 seasons in charge and going 56-85. Exactly why he wasn’t on the same page with Shaw, well, Gallinari preferred the past remain the past.

“I’m ready to play the new season,” he said. “We need to win games, and get back to the same level we were before.”

Gallinari thinks the Nuggets have the personnel to do just that, especially with a rookie point guard in Emmanuel Mudiay and Gallinari’s knee feeling better than it has in a while. He feels like he has some ground to make up, too, since he said that knee robbed him of some of his prime.

“Playing my best basketball right before I got injured,” the 27-year old said. “Now, we’re back to the same level, hopefully better.

“My knee has been feeling great. It felt great last year. Feeling great during the summer. Feeling great now. I just feel good.”

He spent the summer playing for the Italian team at the EuroBasket tournament, where he averaged nearly 18 points a game. In those games, Gallinari saw quite a bit of time at the four spot on the floor, forcing teams to either use a bulkier big man to cover him and risk getting burned on a drive or a smaller player that Gallinari could simply shoot over.

Malone plans to employ a similar type approach, something they discussed over gelato when the coach visited Gallinari in Italy soon after he was hired.

“He’s 6-foot-10. He can handle the ball. He can play pick-and-roll. He can stretch the floor and shoot the 3,” Malone said. “There’s not a lot he can’t do offensively.”

Gallinari wants the responsibility of being the go-to player for the Nuggets this season, especially at crunch time.

“I’ve always been trying to do that, since I came to Denver,” Gallinari said. “That’s what I like to do. I feel good filling those shoes.

“I want to have the ball in my hands. I do want to have the ball in my hands a lot more.”

Knicks’ Rookie Jerian Grant gets up, throws it down (VIDEO)

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The Knicks did well trading for Jerian Grant on date night — he’s going to be able to walk in this year and play quality minutes off the bench.

And, he can get up and throw it down.

Carmelo Anthony had 18 points to lead the Knicks to a 94-88 win over the Sixers.