Langston Galloway will have to Impress for Rotation Spot

Langston Galloway received limited minutes last season and will have to play better this year to be a regular feature on the court. Image: Dave Reginek/Getty Images

The opportunities for Langston Galloway in his first season with Detroit last year did not go as planned. While he appeared in 58 games for the Pistons, Galloway’s minutes were sporadic under the reign of Stan Van Gundy.

The 26-year-old guard was brought to Detroit on a lucrative three-year $21 million contract. Primarily a shooting guard, Galloway was expected to compete with Luke Kennard for the backup duties at the two while also providing intriguing injury insurance for the point guard spot.

Galloway initially won the battle over Kennard for minutes at shooting guard, playing in 32 of Detroit’s first 35 games of the season. However, Luke Kennard was leading the Pistons second unit when Van Gundy decided to play him, and Kennard slowly became a regular in the rotation. When Reggie Jackson went down with an ankle sprain and Ish Smith was vaulted into the starting point guard spot, Galloway was the supposed heir to the leftover minutes at the one. Yet he was beat out by two-way guard Dwight Buycks for those minutes, diluting his role to a mere benchwarmer. By March, Galloway had fallen completely out of the rotation.

That being said, this year could provide a different opportunity for Galloway. The odds of him being an everyday player seem slim. After Reggie Bullock’s breakout season last year, Kennard’s success, Dwane Casey’s belief in Stanley Johnson, and the addition of Glenn Robinson III, minutes on the wing are all but full.

The best pairing on the wing for the starting lineup seems to be Kennard and Bullock. They offer the most playmaking, shooting, and off-ball movement capabilities that will fit well with the triplet of Reggie Jackson, Blake Griffin, and Andre Drummond. That leaves Johnson and Robinson as the wings off the bench, neither a true shooting guard. Galloway could absorb some spot minutes in certain matchups at the two, but those minutes will likely be few and far between.

Moving to his secondary position, point guard, Galloway may have a shot to compete with Ish Smith for the backup minutes at that spot. Unfortunately for Galloway that seems unlikely, as Smith has valiantly handled the duties at the one either off the bench or when he had to start in place of Jackson.

The final option, the least likely, yet seemingly possible option is if Johnson or Robinson have to play backup minutes at power forward because Henry Ellenson and/or Jon Leuer are either not performing well enough or are injured. Galloway would then be able to play the backup shooting guard minutes. As unlikely as this option is, Johnson has the body to defend power forwards and using natural small forwards as power forwards has become the norm.

Read More: Glenn Robinson III Ready for Breakout Season with Detroit

Galloway still has value, and while he may have been overpaid by Van Gundy, he can still be a contributor. However, he has to be more consistent. Last season he shot just 34.4 percent from the 3-point line – the leading attribute that led him to Detroit.

Pressure will be on Galloway to be effective and efficient whenever he has an opportunity on the court. There will be no margin of error for him, or at least not as big of one as the likes of Kennard or Bullock will have.

Rod Beard of the Detroit News reported earlier in the offseason that the Pistons have been looking for deals that would involve Ish Smith, Jon Leuer, and Galloway.

The Pistons drafted Khyri Thomas and Bruce Brown, two young wings that both displayed talent during Summer League. That does not bode well either for Galloway.

Detroit is loaded on the wing with talent at both positions. Opportunity will be slim for Galloway, but when the chance for him to play comes, he must be ready to capitalize on it immediately, or it could spell the end of his time with the Pistons.

Featured Image: Brian Sevald/NBAE

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