Danilo Gallinari has experienced his share of ups and downs in his NBA career. Still only 26 years old, the 6-foot-10 Italian, who was the 6th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, has a lot left in the tank. Since being dealt to the Nuggets as part of the Carmelo Anthony trade, Gallinari’s game has grown to new heights.

In his four seasons with the Nuggets, Gallinari has averaged 14 points per game, 2.1 assists and 4.6 rebounds. While the stats don’t jump off the page, Gallinari adds much to the Nuggets roster with his floor spacing, ability to get to the line, and his overall grit. Furthermore, coming from playing in the Big Apple, Gallinari is not afraid of the moment, and he has shown that courage and tenacity throughout his Nuggets career, which included playoff runs in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.

For Gallinari, the last three seasons have definitely been the most challenging years of his NBA career. In April 2013, Gallinari tore left ACL and missed the remainder of the 2012-13 season. Unfortunately, the surgery to repair the damage in his knee was not successful and forced Gallinari to go back under the knife for a second operation. The whole ordeal would keep Gallinari off the court for the entire 2013-14 NBA season as well.  Gallinari returned this past season, playing 59 games for a struggling Nuggets team, while still working to get back to his best.

Our friends at DenverStiffs.com found a recent interview by Gallinari, who is back in Italy this summer, with La Gazzetta dello Sport, talking all things Denver Nuggets. Gallinari was very open and honest with his answers.

Below is some of what he had to say (translated from Italian to English through Google translate):

Danilo, are you ready to be the next leader of Denver?

“I’m always ready, but clearly serve a coach and a company that will give me that role. The goal must be to not finish the season in mid-April: you have to go to the playoffs and try to go there as far forward as possible. The company has the best intentions, so we have to build a winning team. Although I am known for a time my friends and I hope that the current roster is almost the same.”

The Nuggets have not a coach: you would have Melvin Hunt?

“Yes, I hope that he is our next coach. Very familiar with the basketball, not only the US but also the European one, a feature that in a NBA coach can make a difference. It ‘a very positive person, very good at motivating players. I know what he wants to do and I think the coach has the opportunity to succeed. It would be nice to do it together.”

By difficulties with his predecessor, Brian Shaw, what have you learned?

“A not take anything for granted. He had no patience with me, and when you have a player who has a certain status in the NBA and the team have to have it. I think of people like Rose and Westbrook, who had injuries similar to mine and that the return still played 35 minutes and had people around patients. Things would have gone differently if he had been with me, as it was now, with which I have a great relationship and the same views. But the company and Shaw were never on the same page.”

What goal have you given to this stage of your career?

“I want to win the ring and do it as a protagonist. A trophy team gives you something that you do not have an individual from.”

Do you think there are conditions to do in Denver?

“Yes, and it shows that before changing coach and gm we made ​​the playoffs for 10 straight years, since I was 3 on the team and not having much luck. We were on the right track , we can go smoothly.”

If you were to realize that in Denver there are the conditions to win, are you ready to change?

“I do not want to think about it now because I really like Denver. I have a good relationship with society and with the people, the environment around the deductible is beautiful. It would be a dream to do something important there.”

During Gallinari’s tenure in Denver, change has certainly swept over the Denver Nuggets organization. George Karl is gone, 50-win seasons are gone and the Nuggets once home-court advantage seems to have become a weakness these days. It’s clear Gallinari wants to be a part of a winner and that he wants that winner to reside in the Pepsi Center.

Sammy Mugharbil, a Mile High Sports intern and student at MSU-Denver, contributed to this report