11 members of the 2014-15 New York Knicks made the bottom 100 of ESPN’s #NBARank, which ranks the Top 400 players in the NBA. Fortunately for Knicks fans, six of those players are longer with the team.
The bad news: five still are, including one who has no business being ranked so low.
Perhaps the silver lining in ESPN’s latest release is that Knicks fans have a genuine reason to defend the organization. After years of unfounded optimism, it’s the general population who’s been misled in this scenario.
In an absolutely astonishing underrating, Langston Galloway checked in at No. 317—a disrespectful ranking that’s far too low to be accurate.
Galloway’s ranking was lower than fellow 2014-15 rookies Jordan Adams, Tyler Ennis and Gary Harris. All three could end up being better players than he, but as it presently stands, the ranking is confusing.
Adams, Ennis and Harris saw spot minutes in 2014-15. Galloway was a starter at both guard position for the Knicks.
More importantly, Galloway was named to the All-Rookie Second Team.
Galloway may not be a star or a household name, but he’s certainly deserving of a better ranking than No. 317. He’s a strong player who, at the very least, has shown significant two-way potential.
That all starts with a solid offensive foundation.
When a rookie manages to average double-digit scoring marks, they’re worth discussing. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re on the fast track to stardom, but it’s a promising sign when a player is not afraid of the moment.
It’s clear as day that Langston Galloway is not afraid of the NBA.
The 23-year-old made his mark in 2014-15 as a good shooter who does a little bit of everything from both guard positions. He averaged 11.8 points on 35.2 percent shooting from 3-point range and an 80.8 percent conversion rate at the free throw line.
Shooting 39.9 percent from the field is concerning, but field goal percentages aren’t the end-all, be-all for first-year players.
There isn’t an identifiable offensive skill that makes him great, but Galloway is a balanced enough player to warrant more respect than his ranking grants him. He dished out 3.3 assists to just 1.4 turnovers per game, which came on a usage rate of 18.5 percent.
Galloway hasn’t shown the highest grade of potential as a facilitator, but his upside is intriguing as a combo guard who can drive, shoot and take care of the basketball.
Galloway needs to develop a go-to trait as a scorer, but he’s already an ideal Triangle Offense guard. He can shoot, handle the ball and attack the basket both with and without the ball.
Perhaps the most promising number: Galloway’s effective field goal percentage of 52.5 percent on catch-and-shoot jump shots ranked in the Top 50, per NBA.com. Not great for a veteran, but not bad for a rookie.
When the New York Knicks traded Iman Shumpert, the general theory was that they’d lost their only developable on-ball defender. In terms of wing defense, that may still prove true.
What Phil Jackson kept on the roster, however, was the promise and potential of Langston Galloway.
Galloway is already one of the better young on-ball defenders in the NBA. He’s certainly not elite, but calling him average would be selling him short.
Per NBA.com, Galloway forced opponents to shoot 39.7 percent from the field when he was the primary defender in 2014-15.
For a rookie, that’s a very promising number. He held opponents to 3.7 percent worse shooting than their average field goal percentage, with strong marks against 2-point and 3-point field goal attempts.
The numbers tell an accurate story; Galloway’s on-ball defense is something the Knicks can work with.
If he can continue to shoot with efficiency and defend at a high level, Galloway would be able to carve out minutes in any rotation. More importantly, he’d be the type of 3-and-D specialist that the Knicks need moving forward.
Throw in his clutch gene and one thing becomes perfectly clear: just as he was at the 2015 NBA Draft, Galloway has been overlooked and underrated.
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