The Guy Dell Demps Needs To Target Next in Free Agency

Published: February 8, 2016

Yes, I made a case for Kevin Durant months ago. Those days are over. If you go back and read that article again, you will see that a huge part of the selling point that Dell would have to make to KD was that the Pelicans were a team trending upwards. This year destroyed all that. Heck, forget Kevin Durant – I don’t even think the Pelicans will get a meeting this summer with the Nic Batum’s of the world after the way they have played. You can forget about Harrison Barnes and Al Horford too. Those guys will want to play for winners, and the Pelicans will not be able to say they are that with a straight face.

The Pelicans also can not put all their hopes on the 2016 draft. Young guys just don’t help you win games. The biggest thing lacking on this roster is basketball IQ, and it is rare that a rookie enters the league with even average awareness. So, forget the rookies and forget the high-profile free agents. The Pelicans are going to have to find undervalued guys who fit their scheme and could improve their culture. And a guy who embraces the city wouldn’t hurt either. With that in mind, I offer you an under the radar target that can help get things moving in the right direction.

Langston Galloway.

Let’s start with the system. First two questions Gentry will ask – Can he shoot? Is he a willing passer? As far as shooting, he is an improving high volume 3-pt threat. He is up to 37.5% this year from deep, including 53% from the corner. He is St Joe’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made, and when he gets hot, he can change a game. And as a passer, he is 5th amongst shooting guards (getting 20 or more mpg) in assist percentage, ahead of guys like James Harden and Dwayne Wade. In New York, he is somewhat positionless and stuck in the triangle. In Gentry’s system, he could theoretically play off of bigger guards in Tyreke and/or Jrue, being a secondary creator on offense while defending the smaller of the two guards on the other end. By all accounts, he is a tireless worker and great locker room guy, who understands the game. Oh, and did I mention he was from Baton Rogue?

Galloway is a restricted free agent this year, and while he wouldn’t be seen as a sexy acquisition, he could be exactly what Portland got in Wesley Matthews way back in 2010. Matthews, like Galloway, was a 4-year college player who went undrafted. Like Galloway, he came out of nowhere to play well early in his career, and like Galloway is set to, he became a restricted free agent before anybody knew what he really could become. Portland believed in him and gave him a five-year deal that seemed absurd at the time. He got $34 million just 12 months after going undrafted, and that contract was simply too much for Utah to match. The rest is history.

Those are the kind of history lessons Dell should be learning, and he should be doing everything he can to find the next Matthews, the next Demarre Carroll, the next Hassaan Whiteside, etc. For my money, the next Wesley Matthews is Langston Galloway, a hungry, intelligent player who fits what Alvin Gentry wants to do on the offensive side of the ball. And I know your next question: How is his defense? Well, here’s a piece comparing him (in a favorable way) to Anthony Davis on that side of the ball. He is only 6’2″, so you would think that would limit him on that end, but he has a 6’8″ wingspan, giving him the ability to defend both backcourt positions and to close out on shooters quickly. He is a high effort guy on that side of the ball who is smart and coachable. Sounds like music to Darren Erman’s ears.

He is no star, but he just turned 24 and the Pelicans won’t have to wait on him like they will on some 19-year-old rookie. They also won’t have to pay him 20-plus million a year and compete with 25 other teams for his services. Yes, they will likely have to give a contract that will have Twitter poking fun at our franchise. But imagine the field day the all-mighty Twitter snarkers would have had on the day that Portland signed Wesley Matthews.

The Pelicans will be the ones laughing years later.


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