Meet Langston Galloway
The Pistons have agreed to a deal with Langston Galloway for a 3 year $21 million deal. As of now it is believed that there are no options for either the team or the player. I had delayed making this post thinking that there would be another move to come, there still likely is, but I don't want to wait anymore.
So who is Langston Galloway?
Langston Galloway is a 25 year old pro who will turn 26 during the coming season. He has 3 years of experience in the NBA. He went to High School at Christian Life Academy in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He won 2 district player of the year awards, and lead them to a state championship in his senior year. He went to school for 4 years at Saint Joseph's, where he won multiple awards for his play on the court as well as his efforts off of it, and finished as the 2nd all time leading scorer in school history and is school's all time leader in 3 pointers made. Galloway went undrafted in 2014, and was signed by the Knicks to their summer league team, after which he spent some time with their D-League team, before being signed to a pair of 10 day contracts and eventually was signed for the rest of the season even making 2nd team All Rookie. He spent one more year with the Knicks, before starting last year with the Pelicans before being traded to the Kings as part of the DeMarcus Cousins trade.
What if there isn't some other big move and they just signed him?
There is a very good chance this is the case. I'll get into the reason why another move makes most sense later, but there could be nothing major coming, and this is part of the Pistons self stated plan to more or less run the team back again. In the most basic sense, Galloway checks several boxes that the Pistons wanted to hit this offseason.
Shooting: Galloway is a career 36.6% shooter from deep, and is coming off of a season where he shot 39% from deep on 4.2 attempts per game, it should also be noted that he isn't just a spot up guy and has some ability to hit off the dribble 3s as well. (which adds some amount of impressiveness to his 36.6% career mark.) He isn't a sniper that some people were hoping the Pistons would get, but when his NBA numbers are combined with his mark of 42.6% from 3 in college he is proven as a reliable shooter from deep.
Secondary Ball-Handling: Galloway is not a pure point guard in any sense of the word. He isn't a great penetrator or threat in the paint, and he also isn't a great facilitator or passer in general, but he is capable of doing basic stuff to run your offense like running a functional pick and roll and doing basic level creation with some ability. He is not someone you want to be running full time point guard with regularity, but he very nice if on the floor with a real point guard.
Defense: Depending on who you ask you get varying answers as to how good a defensive player Galloway is, but pretty much everyone agrees he is good, the only disagreement comes from whether he is elite level or just good. The Pistons definitely have had some need of more good defenders, and Galloway is one more on the roster.
So essentially, even if the Pistons don't make anymore major changes, he definitely makes sense. And the fact that the Pistons were able to get a guy who checks all 3 boxes in their price range is a good find. Galloway is a versatile player who is versatile in most of the ways the Pistons need. Right now, with the possibility of other moves or not other moves, Galloway can fill in as a “Break in case of emergency” point guard, a good shooter and a guy who is can provide some desperately needed secondary creation and ball handling. He also provides at least a small amount of insurance against the possibility of KCP walking, and they could possibly be a little more willing to move any one of their other guards.
So why would there be another move coming?
Galloway is 6'2, (with a 6'8 wingspan I believe), essentially making him a shooting guard in a point guard's body, which is why he is a combo guard. HOWEVA, he is definitely not a wing, in theory they certainly could play him alongside a point guard and another shooting guard like KCP, but then either KCP or Galloway is guarding small forwards and either one would be very undersized, and this is the reason why he doesn't necessarily make the most sense for the roster as it is. Galloway is set to make 7 million dollars per year, and that isn't some huge amount in the current NBA, it is a number that you would hope he is going to get real playing time, but there is a chance that he would not. Theoretically (a healthy) Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith will take all of the point guard minutes, and (assuming Reggie is healthy) there is no way Galloway is pushing either of those guys for minutes there. At shooting guard, (assuming he is resigned which appears to still be the general assumption) KCP will definitely be starting and playing the heavy minutes there, while the Pistons have a pair of young players who are likely to be pushing for the backup minutes in Kennard (who is clearly a 2) and Stanley Johnson. (who even though he is probably more of a SF he has played a lot of 2 guard in his young career) And if Galloway is taking all of those minutes, it means one of the two youngsters is likely out, and if SVG sticks to his precious 9 man rotation then both of the youngins will be nailed to the bench. This is possible that SVG doesn't actually think Kennard is ready to be an every night player out the gate (which is fair) and that Stanley is going to move away from playing the 2 (also fair) in which case all makes sense, it just doesn't make the most sense. The only thing I will say is that Galloway is not going to be a replacement for Reggie Jackson, Galloway isn't a starter, and especially as a point guard, and even more especially when this Pistons team (in its current form) is almost comically reliant on the point guard to create the offense.
Essentially as of now, Galloway would either push one (or both) of the young Pistons wings out of the rotation, or one (or both) of them could push him out of the rotation. And while under the current cap 7 million isn't horrible for a guy who is a bench warmer, but it certainly isn't ideal. That is why it seems like some other move may be likely.
So what moves could be coming?
The Pistons are (hopefully) not planning on having Galloway take the place of any starter, but this certainly isn't a precursor to a Reggie Jackson trade. Reggie Jackson could well be traded I suppose, but Langston Galloway is absolutely not starting at point guard. He provides some insurance against KCP walking away because he in theory could do a decent impression of what KCP does (given that KCP doesn't do as much offensively as either of the point guards on the Pistons roster) but even that would be a last resort kind of thing. In more likelyhood the Pistons may move around various bench players in some way shape or form. So for instance, maybe Ish is going to be included in some larger trade and Galloway is going to become the full time backup point guard, maybe the Pistons are going to trade one of Mobias and move Stanley into the starting lineup and SVG envisions a super small bench lineup with tons of shooting and playmaking. (Both Galloway and Kennard are capable as secondary ball handlers)
Upshot for the rest of the roster?
Obviously I covered this quite a bit earlier, but he figures to take any 3rd point guard duties that may arise, and will, in some form, compete for minutes on the wing as a fairly pure 3 and D type. He allows the Pistons to be a little bit more brave with KCP's negotiations as they have someone who could fill in with at least some respectability if he had to. This almost ensures that Kennard is not likely to get major minutes, at least out of the gate.
Worst case scenario:
The Pistons have too much faith in Galloway, let KCP walk for a contract that ends up being fairly reasonable, and Galloway underwhelms as a starter in a similar vein as Jon Leuer last year, except that Galloway isn't starting because SVG thinks it might work better, but Galloway is starting because the Pistons literally don't have another option. Neither Kennard or Stanley steps up in any big way to potentially take the starting spot and the Pistons enter next offseason in desperate need of a starting caliber shooting guard with no easy way of getting one.
Best case scenario:
Galloway ends up being a good buy as KCP receives a max offer sheet and walks, Galloway fills in as a starter admirably until Kennard takes over part way into this season or possibly next at which point Galloway becomes a 6th man of sorts including hitting some clutch 3s in the Pistons 3 straight NBA championship victories.
I like Galloway as a player, and I like him with the Pistons. I just do hope that this doesn't end with Stanley and Kennard rotting on the bench all year. But the reality is that if Stanley doesn't start to play better this year then it is officially time to worry about him long term, and Kennard is young enough that it may be absolutely correct that he can't be providing any significant minutes on a team trying to win games and having Galloway around should allow the Pistons to ease Kennard into playing time. I do worry a bit about the possibility of Galloway not getting any real minutes as well. The main thing I don't like about this signing is that it is a 3 year deal instead of 2, since so many of the Pistons contracts are up after 2 more years, it made sense for the Pistons to run this team back again one more year, and if it didn't work out then they will have a bunch of expirings and can easily start over at that point. Overall though I like the signing, but it is hard to say because we don't know how the rest of free agency will go. If KCP walks and Galloway ends up filling in well for him then this could end up being a home run signing, if KCP sticks around and Kennard/Johnson play really well and Langston is out of the rotation and 3rd on the depth chart at two different positions then it may end up being a big waste, the good news is that IF he ends up out of the rotation, I think this contract is fair enough that he would be easy to move. The other thing that I do appreciate in at least some small way is that it continues to show that the Pistons front office has a pretty clear plan in place, they knew which guy they wanted and went and got him. Now we have to see if it is a good plan or not.
What do you think? What role do you see Galloway playing? Do you like the signing?