Pelicans reach an agreement to bring in Langston Galloway

Published: July 7, 2016

Amidst the swirling free agency drama surrounding Kevin Durant and Dwyane Wade, the Pelicans quietly made another under-the-radar acquisition in Langston Galloway. Now I know what you are thinking. Is this dude a basketball player, or a Shakespearean era poet who crafts sonnets in iambic pentameter? He sounds like someone a high school English teacher would make you write a report on. But fret not, this Baton Rouge native is indeed a basketball player. And a pretty intriguing one at that!

The 6’2″ combo guard’s story mimics something out of 2K15. Going undrafted, Galloway was the first ever call up from the New York Knicks D-League affiliate, the Westchester Knicks. After playing his way through a couple 10-day contracts, Galloway finally earned a partially guaranteed 2-year deal for New York. The Knicks’s disaster of a season allowed Galloway to start 41 games, and he finished the season averaging 11.8ppg (3rd among all rookies) while earning a spot on the All-Rookie Second Team. Galloway’s second season saw a reduction in minutes with healthier Knicks players, but not a reduction in tenacity. Night in, night out, Galloway was known to leave it all on the floor and play with an almost palpable amount of grit.

In his short time with the Knicks, the 24 year old Galloway played his way into the hearts of many fans. Don’t believe me? Check out the New York Knicks subreddit where there is an entire appreciation thread dedicated to him. There you can find comments such as

“Almost single handedly made NY bearable to watch during its worst season. NY loved him as much as he loved NY.”

That’s some high praise for a second year combo guard in a market as big as New York. But what about him attracted the Pelicans? More importantly, how does he fit on this roster?

For starters, if you haven’t checked out McNamara’s piece on Galloway from February, stop wasting time and go read it. But in Galloway’s own words, the Pelicans were looking for “great character guys” and guys who would “play defense as powerfully as possible”. Take a moment to think about what that means and if it’s at all related to the Moore and Hill signings. Hint, it totally is. You could take that description and apply it universally to any of the three new guys the Pelicans have been linked to. Dell and his team are very purposefully targeting guys who 1) can play defense 2) are known to work their ass off every day. While I don’t agree this signifies some sort of philosophical shift in guys Dell wants, but the acquisitions are definitely a breath of fresh air and hopefully an influx of new culture. These guys fit Dell’s target demographic to a T: young vets, high character, and versatile. This is just the first time we have had some cap to play with and fill out the roster.

On the court, Galloway is a player who can play and defend both guard positions. With a 6’8” wingspan, Galloway has no issues switching onto whichever guard needs his attention. A little over 45% of his defensive possessions came from guarding the ballhandler out of a pick and roll. In these situations, Galloway held opponents to 37% shooting and .79 points per possession. Which is great news for the Pelicans, because they allowed opponents to shoot 43.4% and .86 points per possession (27th out of 30th). Galloway will bring much needed help on the perimeter.

Offensively Galloway was unimpressive from a raw and advanced numbers stand point. Putting up a slash line of 11.1pts/5.1rebs/3.7ast per36 on a 49.0% true shooting last year is about as meh as you can get. But Galloway drained 46.7% of his corner threes on 60 attempts and 43.8% of wide open threes over the last two years on 130 attempts. Not too shabby. Galloway moves the ball, and pushes the pace, and per Nylon Calculus, played best at point guard. Still, with his ability to hit open shots and corner threes, I’d love to have another shot creator next to Galloway. Tim Fraizer, is that you? Either way, him and Moore should be able to play off each other really well, especially without the pesky relic called the triangle getting in his way.

There is one last shoe to drop in all this. We do not know all of the details of Galloway’s contract. We know that he has agreed to a two year deal, with a player option in year 2. However, the extent of his salary is unknown. If above the Room Level Exception, Galloway’s contract will likely eat away our remaining cap space. Whether the Pelicans make additional moves to fit the contract or renounce the existing holds of Babbit, Douglas, and Fraizer remains to be seen. But as we learned last year with Asik’s contract, Dell masterfully knows his way around the cap and likely has a plan to make the money work.

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