The Detroit Pistons finished a disappointing 37-45 last season. As the team looks to improve and regain a spot in the playoffs, Detroit Bad Boys is examining three things each player can do to improve their game and improve the chance the team wins. Whether you’re new to the game or a season Pistons watcher, these are important factors that anyone can appreciate and will help you understand and evaluate Detroit’s team as we get ready for the 2017-18 season.
It appeared to most Pistons fans that this past summer’s free agency plan was set in stone. Offer KCP a max and cross your fingers. Little did we know what SVG and Bower had up their sleeve. I will admit that when I got a flurry of text’s simply saying “LANGSTON GALLOWAY?!?!” I wasn’t fist -pumping up and down my driveway. To be honest, I had very little frame of reference on who the guy was outside of this particularly absurd shot I remember witnessing in person.
His origin story is tailor-made for this franchise. An undrafted free agent out of St. Joseph that clung onto multiple 10-day contracts before finally getting his break and signing with the Knicks. Takes a deal in New Orleans before getting moved in the DeMarcus Cousins trade to Sacramento. All the while playing hard and earning his roster spot. He’s a guy who has fought for every second of playing time and in keeping that mentality, has continued to get better.
Now he’s our guy, and from the looks of it a very serviceable backup shooting guard, a position the Pistons have not had on this roster for quite a while (cut to Ben Gulker nodding furiously). So what should Pistons fans hope to see out of the newly acquired combo guard in the backcourt?
Solid Three Point Shooting
Even while getting traded last year, Galloway managed to put up career-best percentages in three point shooting at 37 percent in New Orleans and then 47 percent in Sacramento during the “let the young guns go wild post Boogie” phase of the season. Together, it totals out to just under 40 percent on the year and that's averaging about four attempts per game. I don’t expect his minutes to be the same as last year with the crowded Pistons backcourt, but I still think he’s that Rashard Lewis, Courtney Lee type of player that could thrive in Stan’s system. He’s definitely not gun shy from behind the arch, and for a team that had a tendency to lose confidence with the deep ball last year, Galloway could boost the rest of the second unit.
Flexibility for Stan’s Lineups
Remember in 2015 when KCP was one of the league leaders in minutes at over 36 per game? It was an unsustainable roster that lacked a backup shooting guard since Stanley Johnson was still getting his feet wet as a rookie. KCP’s minutes dipped slightly in 2016 with the failed Stanley Johnson as a shooting guard experiment but were still over 33 minutes per game. Now with Bradley and Galloway in the fold, SVG has easily the most backcourt depth yet in his Pistons coaching tenure, offering him the opportunity to balance minutes and rest and get creative with lineups. Galloway’s experience as a point guard is also critical here since, at 6’2, he gives Stan a counter to teams that try to expose Ish Smith’s height.
Locker Room Leadership
It’s not something you’ll see in the box score but Galloway’s reputation as a high character locker room guy is well documented. This is the god Keith Langlois over the summer:
“Adding high-character players is on Van Gundy’s evergreen wish list and the Pistons knew Galloway checked off that box, as well – and emphatically. In fact, Van Gundy said character reports on Galloway were “off the charts” and his new teammates, without prompting, unfailingly mention him as a positive force even though they’ve only briefly known him.”
With Tolliver back in the fold as well, the Pistons have a veteran leader they desperately missed last year along with an undrafted grinder in Galloway. Combine that with the work ethic we’ve seen out of Avery Bradley and the Pistons’ intangibles look like they made the biggest upgrade this offseason.
As Langlois wrote, Galloway checks all of the SVG boxes: shoots the three well, defender, and as far as I can tell from the press clippings, a consummate professional. The real question heading into the 2017-18 season isn’t if he’ll live up to expectations, it’s how soon will he surpass them.