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2017 NBA free agency: Langston Galloway is the right fit for the Pistons

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How Detroit’s newest guard will look in Motown.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Sacramento Kings Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

If you follow me on Twitter (shameless plug), you would’ve seen that a few days ago I did a thread explaining how Langston Galloway was a good signing for the Detroit Pistons, using some video examples and stats to determine where his areas of impact align with Pistons weaknesses.

If you don’t follow me on Twitter (why?), this is basically that thread in article form.

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Langston Galloway is listed at 6’2 and weighs 200 pounds, which is somewhat undersized for the average NBA shooting guard. Undrafted out of St Josephs in 2014, he has appeared in 201 NBA games between the New York Knicks, New Orleans Pelicans ,and Sacramento Kings.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (still weird), Galloway agreed to a 3 year, $21 million contract with Detroit on the first day of free agency.

Some have said that it was an overpay early in free agency, drawing fan reaction similar to the Aron Baynes news two years ago. My first preference was C.J. Miles for a veteran guard, although he is more of a swingman than a combo guard, but that’s all irrelevant now, so how does Langston Galloway fit into Detroit?

Shooting

Any free agent signing for the Pistons this summer that isn’t the backup center should be geared towards shooting. Granted, Galloway isn’t the first name that springs to mind when you think “deadeye”, but he has put together some impressive numbers from behind the arc, which is good because his two point percentage is pretty awful.

As we all know by now, the Pistons were (rhymes with ducking) awful from three last season, ranking 28th in three point percentage and 27th in three pointers made. In a league with 30 teams, das ist nicht gut.

Enter Galloway...

For his career, Galloway has posted a mark of 36.6 percent shooting from distance, a statistic that nestles somewhere in the “fair to slightly above average” category. Last season, however, he made strides, shooting 39 percent (120-308), a mark that, and this only highlights how bad Detroit was as a collective, would’ve bested the team.

Galloway took over four attempts a game last season, and despite playing the majority of his minutes off the ball in both New Orleans and Sacramento, was more than simply a spot up merchant.

Lets go to the tape...*

*For some reason the video format I have isn’t supported so I’ll just embed my tweets with the videos on them. Apologies.

We can see in the first two videos how Galloway appears comfortable pulling up off the dribble using and reading screens to generate clean looks.

The encouraging thing from the first two clips is clearly the confidence Galloway shows in his shot. As soon as he sees the defender cheat and go under the screen, Galloway isn’t afraid to let it fly. Plus, the range on that first one...OOFT.

As I said before, Galloway is primarily off the ball, so it would be remiss of me to not look at how he operates looking for a shot when he doesn’t have the rock. We know how good a set up man Ish Smith was last season, and seeing as he is Galloway’s likely backcourt mate, Langston can expect some open shots.

In this regard, Langston knows his role, with a career usage rate of only 17.5 percent. He supplemented this last season with a mark of 42.2 percent on catch and shoot threes, attempting 3.5 a game.

This is an odd play because it’s a pick and roll where one guard screens the other and rolls to the wing for a triple. It can be effective in confusing the defense, especially if you have a stronger guard who is capable of hitting threes at a good rate.

A simple kick out here finds an open Galloway and he nails the shot. His release is quick and he uses a good fundamental dip. His base is also strong, if not slightly wider than probably ideal.

In the final shooting clip, we see Galloway in a Rip role, using screens to flare to the wing for a quick shot, which he swishes beautifully. No more words needed.

Like I said before, Galloway, for whatever reason, has quite a low 2P% (career mark of 40.9 percent), but his three point attempt rate is 43.1 percent for his career, meaning he is spending more time outside the perimeter. He also finishes at the rim well, with a career mark of 53.8 percent, meaning if he is shooting the midrange jumper, something has gone wrong.

Secondary playmaker

As a SG type, you aren’t signing someone like Langston Galloway to run an offense. As a secondary ball handler, though, it is useful if he is able to make the right plays and create on occasion if needed, which he is more than capable of doing.

For his career, Galloway only averages 2.2 assists per game, but he is extremely careful and efficient with the ball, with a low turnover percentage of 8.7 percent against an assist rate of 14.4 percent.

When watching his film, I found most of his assists were within the realm of the offense; ie. passing to a shooter off a screen, but I do like his unselfishness and the fact that he plays within himself rather than overplaying his hand.

That being said, he isn’t a spud in terms of playmaking, as demonstrated by the next few clips which I feel demonstrate potential.

I like how he decisively attacks a defender to force help off the Willie Cauley-Stein screen. He reads the play and makes a simple but effective pass.

This one is as simple as beating a man to a spot, as Galloway forces help again and dishes to Cunningham for an easy jumper.

Here, Galloway uses a burst of speed in order to get middle penetration and wind up with an easy assist to a rim runner.

Like I said earlier, Galloway isn’t being asked to run plays, but his ability to do enough to keep an offense flowing is an appreciated trait.

I’ve come up with an ideal checklist for a secondary ball handler:

  1. Makes the right pass
  2. Athleticism
  3. Respectable shot

I think Galloway exhibits decent levels in all three of those criteria, allowing him to take some burden off Ish Smith and Reggie Jackson if need be, while largely remaining an off ball threat.

Also, with Ish Smith’s penchant for collapsing defenses with penetration, look for Galloway to attack closeouts as defenders scramble following an Ish Smith kick out.

Defense

Despite his size, Langston Galloway is what you would characterise as, not perhaps an elite defender, but definitely a tenacious one, someone who displays the cliched “bulldog mentality.”

Last season, Galloway forced opponents to shoot 2.5 percent worse from the field overall while he was guarding them. In fact, he forced opponents into lower percentages all over the court except from three, where his rating was 0.1 percent higher, probably due to his lack of height and ability to contest shots being somewhat hampered.

To add context to these numbers, and say what you want about defensive statistics, but Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, considered the Pistons best defender, allowed opponents to shoot 0.7 percent better from the field overall, although he forced them into a 2.5 percent dip from three.

Galloway contested most of his shots outside 15 feet, 59.5 percent to be exact, with 43.6 percent of attempts faced being from three point range. This points to Galloway being a solid perimeter defender when on the ball, no shame in that.

However, where I think he excels defensively is off the ball, and his ability to read the play looks to be a really nice piece in his arsenal. Lets take a look shall we?

Galloway averages just under a steal per game for his career, but is disruptive.

In this first clip, he never loses contact with his man, the sign of a good off ball defender. Too often you see players allow their man space off the ball, only for them to lose sight and spend the rest of the defensive possession catching up. Here, Galloway forces his way into the lane and forces a turnover, finishing with a nice pitch ahead in transition.

This is probably my favourite clip in the whole article. Just watch how Galloway recognises his weakside help responsibilities. He realises the roller is barreling down the lane untouched, inserts himself sharply into the fray, tags the roller and picks off an admittedly soft pass.

In the last video here, Galloway gets screened off his man, but doesn’t give up on the play. He capitalises on a loose Oladipo handle to poke the ball away and get a transition opportunity, although avert your eyes so you don’t see the monstrous block he takes from Jerami Grant.

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Galloway will turn 26 in December, meaning that the Pistons will have him locked up through his prime years for a fraction under the MLE. He brings positional versatility, an ability to hit the three ball in a variety of ways, secondary playmaking and sharp defensive instincts.

He allows some SVG creativity should Stan wish to pursue that, as he can essentially play next to any guard in Detroit’s roster.

I think that Galloway, much like Aron Baynes did, will make Detroit fans very happy over the next few years.

If you wish to read the thread in its entirety, you can find it here: