Examining Langston Galloway’s December Struggles


It seems like just yesterday Langston Galloway was one of the better players at the start of the 2015-16 regular season.

Galloway was playing good defense, he was holding down the second unit as Arron Afflalo was out and he was spacing the floor, leading the league in three-point field goal percentage. For $850,000, Galloway was certainly one of the biggest bargains in the league to start the season and one of the league’s bigger surprises.

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But eventually (and unfortunately), some things even out. Regression to the mean. Galloway has gone through a bit of a slump to open up the month, falling to 25.6% from the field and 35.3% from three in December. Outside of hitting the three, Galloway has struggled offensively inside the arc, shooting just 38.2% in November and 32.7% from inside the arc for the season.

Afflalo’s return and production have lessened the blow, but Galloway has been bad to start the month of December. Before jumping off the train, Galloway is still providing the Knicks with some value.

For starters, Galloway is still a pretty good defensive players and has kept it intact. To start the month, Galloway’s defensive rating is 94.6 and his net rating is +2.3. Two-man lineups aren’t the greatest indicator in terms of net rating and defensive rating, but I find them to be solid for pieces of successful lineups. With that being said, the combination of Galloway and Lance Thomas has played 121 minutes together and recorded an 88.3 defensive rating and 6.8 net rating.

And for the season, his defense has never waned. For the season, Galloway has a defensive field goal percentage of 30.6% from beyond the arc and 45.3% on two-pointers, both below the league average. Even at his listed height of six-foot-two, Galloway has long, gangly arms that allowed him to bother and pester opposing point guards. It allows the Knicks to bring some defensive value off the bench, as Galloway can come in and spell either Afflalo or Jose Calderon and provide a stout defender on the perimeter.

An aside, I wonder why the Knicks have given him minutes exclusively at the point guard position – 100% of his minutes have been at the point guard position, per basketball-reference.com, compared to playing 66% of his minutes at point guard and the remaining 34% at the shooting guard position as a rookie last season. Earlier in the season, I want to see Galloway used as the backcourt swiss army knife – next to Calderon, Afflalo, and Jerian Grant.

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That could be one of the ways to help Galloway. The Knicks, in general, should play some smaller, more agile lineups and moving Galloway off of the ball and allowing him to assume a more offensive role could be the way to go. In a perfect world, Jerian Grant would be the point guard in this pairing, but he’s struggling since early season flashes. However, a lineup of Jose Calderon, Langston Galloway, Arron Afflalo, Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis could be enticing.

The defense is a concern, but Anthony has always been better defensively at the power forward position. It just gives him a smaller radius to worry about. Porzingis has already shown flashes of being a good defender and a solid rim protector early in his career and Affalo, Calderon and Galloway could all space the floor. Does it solve Melo’s qualms about wanting to pick up the pace, not exactly. However, it does put both him and Porzingis in better areas to score and gives Anthony guys who can thrive on the catch and shoot. It’s worth a shot in smaller doses.

Everyone is struggling a bit and the Knicks have fallen into a bit of a slump on both sides of the ball. Galloway is one of the people who made us wonder if the Knicks were going to the playoffs. Coincidentally, that was around the time he was one of the most reliable players on the roster. Now, Galloway has tailed off a bit in December and the Knicks are struggling just a bit.

It’s been a slow start to the month, but Galloway has provided some value and once he finds a space inside the perimeter he feels comfortable with, he’ll continue to assert him as a valuable bench option for the Knicks for the rest of 2015.