There’s really only one question Langston Galloway has to answer to be part of the Pistons’ rotation this season:
“Can you make threes consistently?”
If the answer is yes, the Pistons could use a player with Langston’s best qualities - his lightning-fast shot and activity on the defensive end. If the answer is no, then there will be other NBA teams who could use Langston’s $7,333,333 expiring contract to make their financial futures a little more hopeful.
Galloway had a weird year last season. At 80 games played and with the fourth-most total minutes played on the roster, from the outside looking in you’d assume he was an indispensable part of this team. However, he came close to losing his roster spot to second-round pick Khyri Thomas multiple times throughout the year. He, paradoxically, shot better from three with defenders on him than when he was wide open. His month-to-month three-point shooting splits plot like a roller coaster:
He won the team multiple games single-handedly (22 points in a home win over Washington, 15 fourth-quarter points in a road win against Miami, 6-6 from three in a home win over Chicago). He also had 23 (TWENTY-THREE! A fourth of the year!) games where he did not make a single three-pointer:
“Weird” might be underplaying it.
Langston was a weather vane for the problems that plagued the Pistons all year - when the ball was moving and they made shots around Blake Griffin, they won; and when the offense was stagnant and they didn’t, they lost. But the Pistons don’t need Langston to shoot 45 percent from three for the whole season or make four threes a game to have success - they just need him to produce SOMETHING on a nightly basis. If he’s going to play as often as he did, there can’t be 10+ nights where Langston doesn’t make a single shot.
That’s the thing, thought - there’s no rule that Langston has to play the fourth-most minutes on the team this year. Between Bruce Brown Jr. and Luke Kennard, the Pistons have both the present and the future sewn-up at the off-guard position. Langston will still have to fend off Khyri Thomas. The additions of Tony Snell, Joe Johnson, and Sekou Doumbouya on the wing, alongside the development of Svi Mykhailiuk, means Dwane Casey won’t be as compelled to trot out three-guard lineups as he was last year.
There might just not be a place in the rotation for Langston - and without a place in the rotation, he might not have a place on the roster.
Which brings us to DBB’s favorite parlor game: “Trade Langston for a backup center.” Turning Langston into Aron Baynes, or Alex Len, or John Henson is something we’ve bandied about for a while. And it makes a lot of sense - even if Christian Wood wins the training camp battle, the Pistons will have a lack of “true” centers on the roster behind Andre Drummond at a time when (as I’ve argued) big men are going to be back in vogue.
However, if Langston is shooting well enough to have trade value around the league, the Pistons could kinda use him. Therein lies the rub. Schroedinger’s Galloway: Too good to discard for nothing, too bad to get surplus value out of.
If Langston makes shots to start the season - open shots, contested shots, shots of any kind - on a consistent basis, factor him into the rotation AND the trading block. If he doesn’t, consign him to the bench and enjoy his money coming off the books just in time to re-sign Andre Drummond. It’s really that simple.