Analyze: What are the main benefits of Gentile in PAO?
Italian star Alessandro Gentile is expected in Athens around 20th December and he will wear PAO jersey in coming months.
Coach Pascual squad is shining in the past Euroleague rounds with easy win versus one of the main F4 favorites – Fenerbahce as the coup. Still, Panathinaikos is struggling outside the court with many injuries and shorter rotation.
It is a fact, when you want to fill rotation you don’t bring star players, but this situation was kind of specific for both sides. Gentile could not expect that his time in Olimpia Milano would be over in the middle of season, even with his better team play than before. At the same time PAO could not even dream of such a player on the market in December – with strong bond with “Green” base.
That line of connection is, with no doubt, Alessandro’s father – Nando Gentile. That all made possible that “Green” fans enjoy in Gentile moves till the end of this season at least. What is he bringing on the table in this hard “card” game in A1 Greece and Euroleague?
In both competitions PAO looks more than “okay”, but with some questioning of the abilities to win vs. toughest opponents. In that sense, the main questions which arise at the moment are this: Is Gentile that missing gem to turn the fortunes in the duels vs. arch rival Olympiacos and second one is built around the Euroleague play-offs. Does Gentile ability change PAO position from underdog to favorite against some of the leading teams in competition?
Let we start from the negative fame which is following Alessandro in past few years. Gentile is no team player at all, his shooting percentages are not as good as before and his physical condition is under serious questioning. Even if we accept all this as 100% true (which is not), Gentile is not brought to Athens to deliver ball to his teammates and to build team chemistry. He is there in the role of constant scoring threat and he can play that perfectly. PAO is often missing outside shooting and ability to score few baskets in row when there is team-play standstill. Gentile can contribute from both position 2 and 3, while he can stretch the floor or use his skill to play pure isolation and penetrate to the basket. In that areas, he can help PG Calathes to feel less defensive pressure, as well as Bourousis with more room in the paint for his perfect center technique.
The problematic parts of Gentile in PAO are connected with his defensive (li)abilities. While coach Pascual is insisting on perfect defensive movement (even of Bourousis!), Gentile mentality and lack of concentration in that aspect of game can be big obstacle to his minutes on the floor. Still, Gentile has “good body” and size to play quite solid defense, if he wants, so coach Pascual will definitely try to awake fighting mentality inside.
What are clear benefits for Panathinaikos from Gentile? Other than scoring abilities and “big name” in Athens there are few more. At first point, opponents will have more “homework” to do when they are preparing for PAO which can give far more room to other players to shine in offense. The second issue is connected with Gentile experience. He has been there, and done that what is of prominent importance to this PAO post-Diamantidis team. The backbone of it is now built upon Calathes-Bourousis and Gentile.
The additional motive to shine in Athens, other than to save career, Alessandro will have in the fact that his father Nando is “Green” legend. The family legacy should not be stopped at his famous son…