‘A pro’s pro,’ Galloway’s place in Pistons universe on firm ground
Gregory Shamus (NBAE/Getty)
EAST LANSING – Over the course of last week – from media day on Monday through the first four days of training camp on Michigan State’s campus – Dwane Casey fielded questions on every player on the Pistons roster save one.
He talked about stars Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond. He was probed about how he’d use Reggie Jackson and Derrick Rose. The subject of Joe Johnson’s return to the NBA was roundly discussed. Rookie Sekou Doumbouya was a popular subject.
Up and down the roster, everybody got talked about.
Except the guy who finished fourth on the team in minutes played last season behind only Drummond, Griffin and Jackson.
That guy seems like he must be pretty important, but no one – not a single question – asked about Langston Galloway.
To say he’s overlooked is like saying a tornado is breezy.
“He’s like that old blanket,” Casey said – when he finally fielded a Galloway question – after Saturday’s public scrimmage at Breslin Center brought camp to a close. “It’s not fair, but he’s just a steady, steady pro. He’s a lot of our glue. So, no, I haven’t forgotten Langston. He’s going to be a huge part of what we do.”
Casey’s teeming with options for his second unit this season with the improvement of second-year players Svi Mykhailiuk and Khyri Thomas, the addition of veterans Markieff Morris, Tim Frazier and Johnson, and the likelihood of Rose and Luke Kennard serving as scoring anchors.
But Galloway goes into Monday’s five-game preseason schedule as the odds-on favorite to line up at the wing position opposite Kennard. The White team Casey used to open Saturday’s scrimmage – against the expected starting unit of Griffin, Drummond, Jackson, Bruce Brown and Tony Snell – included Galloway, Kennard, Morris, Frazier and Thon Maker.
One reason Casey likes Galloway on that unit – other than his calling card, a 3-point shot he takes without hesitation and makes at an above-average rate – is his defensive competitiveness.
“People forget, he guarded some of the top perimeter guys last year for us and he’s still doing that now,” Casey said. “He is that Swiss Army knife that you really need on your team.”
Galloway – tied with Kennard behind only Drummond and Jackson on the Pistons seniority list, entering his third season – focused on conditioning and flexibility, with defense foremost in mind, over the summer.
“All summer long was basically about working on my defense, working on my movements and working on my balance,” Galloway said. Galloway incorporated boxing, weight training, plyometrics, pilates and yoga into his routine. “Going forward in my career, that’s the biggest focus. A lot of teams don’t know that I can be a defensive stopper on a team. Coach Casey really relied on me down the stretch in a lot of games last year. I really wanted to make that my focus this summer – hey, I can come out and lock up whoever I need to check.”
Pairing Galloway with Kennard on the second unit gives Casey the flexibility to have Galloway take the more challenging defensive assignment, freeing Kennard to do what he does best at the offensive end.
The buzz around training camp is that the Pistons feel they’re a deeper and more talented team than they’ve been and that their second unit will give them a distinct advantage most nights. Galloway gives a full-throated endorsement to that assessment.
“I feel like our second unit should be starters in this league,” he said. “I think we’re going to show that every single night. We’re going to go out there and try to be the best second unit in the league.”
Galloway is entering his sixth NBA season since going undrafted out of St. Joseph’s in 2014 and clawing his way through the NBA Development League, now the G-League. The three-year deal he signed with the Pistons in 2017 was the first guaranteed multiyear contract of his career – and now only Drummond and Jackson have longer stays.
“I didn’t realize that until I thought about it just now,” he said. “That’s funny to hear. It’s really a blessing to be with a team this long. I cherish every moment with every guy on this team.”
And Casey doesn’t leave much gray area that Galloway’s moments will continue to come at critical times for the 2019-20 Pistons.
“Langston is a pro’s pro,” Casey said. “He’s one of our leaders. He’ll go and quietly talk to the young guys and tell them what they’re doing wrong. He’s not loud – you don’t hear him coming – but he is a pro’s pro and I respect him and have all the confidence in the world in Langston.”