After leaving Panathinaikos Superfoods only two months after signing with the club, is Alessandro Gentile capable of turning things around and returning to the top level, after failing to make the difference in the Greek team?
When the 24-year-old Italian joined the six-time Euroleague champions, he looked ready to help the squad become one of the favourites to win the Euroleague, thanks to his versatile skills.
However, things were completely different in the beginning. Although the Greens’ coach, Xavi Pascual, gave him a lot of playing time in his first matches, the Italian was playing very badly on both ends of the floor.
Offensively, he couldn’t score many points and had a low field-goal percentage, missing shots both from mid-range and from beyond the arc.
Concurrently, he couldn’t score easy lay-ups, despite his ability to drive to the basket, while his post-up game was mediocre.
Consequently, Gentile saw his numbers be in free fall, comparing to the ones he had in Emporio Armani Milano (10.8 points per game, 50.7% in two-pointers), and his team’s playing style became rather predictable, every time he was on the floor.
More specifically, in nine games as a member of Panathinaikos Superfoods, Gentile only scored in four of them (with his most productive ones being against Anadolu Efes and Unics Kazan, where he scored 15 and 10 points, respectively), averaging 3.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per game as well as 36.4% in two-pointers.
What I think is that his biggest problem was his intention to create plays for himself, especially from the low-post, rather than (to) enhance his performance through the squad’s plays.
So, Pascual was forced to reduce the Italian forward’s playing time, as he couldn’t offer decent solutions defensively as well.
Even though he wasn’t one of the best defenders during his presence in the Italian club, Gentile was (and still is) able to play effective defence in 1-on-1 situations, thanks to his size and strength, however he couldn’t be equally productive in Panathinaikos’ defensive plays, which required a higher level of athleticism and concentration.
What was also obvious was that Gentile wasn’t in the ideal playing and physical condition, when he joined the Greens, and needed more time to return to the ideal shape and improve his performance.
As a result, he was considered one of the team’s weak links and had no other choice but to leave the club, as he never managed to adapt to his role in the rotation, which was totally different to the one he had in Armani Milano, where he was the undisputed leader.
On the other hand, the Greek team acquired him in order to give the extra push the squad was needed to become one of the favourites to advance to the Final Four.
However, Gentile failed to do so and he now needs to work as hard as he can to return to the ideal physical condition and be ready for the 2017 Eurobasket, which will start in September.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Italian forward can sign with no other Euroleague club until the end of the season, while he can’t also join another Italian team.
Consequently, the next few months will certainly be of utmost importance for Gentile’s career in order to become a top player again.
Because, even though he is such a talented player, he has failed to lead his squads (Armani Milano, Panathinaikos Superfoods, National Team of Italy) to the top, although the respective rosters were consisted of many effective and productive players.
So, in the end, Alessandro Gentile may need to change his playing style and improve many aspects of his game so as to rise to the expectations, as he still is too young (24 years old).
His presence in the six-time Euroleague champions, though, certainly was disappointing, however it’s up to him to turn things around and again become a great and versatile player.