The case to get Langston Galloway more minutes

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 18: Langston Galloway
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 18: Langston Galloway /

The Detroit Pistons sealed a perfect five-game home stand with a 112-103 victory over the Miami Heat on Sunday. Two things in particular stood out in that game: Luke Kenard’s confidence in the fourth quarter and the lack of minutes available for Langston Galloway.

Kenard, the Pistons first-round pick, had his best game of the season. He finished with 14 points, five rebounds, three assists, and a block, while helping the Pistons outscore Miami by 21 points while he was on the floor.

Galloway, meanwhile, saw limited minutes once again on Sunday. He played the least or the second-least amount of minutes of any player off of the bench in four of the five games during the Pistons’ most recent home stand.

The only game where that wasn’t the case, he scored 12 points on five shots in an ultra-efficient performance against the Pacers. He finished +13 in that game.

Prior to the five-game home stand, Galloway had come in hot, shooting 57.1% from the field and 50.0% from three-point range on over three attempts per game during the month of October.

So, why has the fourth-year guard struggled to crack Stan Van Gundy’s rotation?

I present to you the case to get Langston Galloway more minutes.

Let me preface this by saying that with the Pistons sitting at 10-3 and in second place in the Eastern Conference standings, it’s hard to complain about anything that Van Gundy is doing right now. I’m all for giving Kenard as many minutes as he can handle, but they shouldn’t come at Galloway’s expense. And they don’t have to.

Allow me to explain.

Through the first 13 games of the year, Galloway is averaging a career-best 16.6 points per 36 minutes, while shooting a ridiculous 45.7% from beyond the arc.

When he has played at least 15 minutes, the Pistons are undefeated, sporting a 6-0 record.

The detractors might tell you that he can’t play the point guard spot or that he’s too small to play alongside Ish Smith off of the bench. While both of those statements might hold true as the season moves along, a closer look at the numbers tells a different story.

When Galloway is on the floor, Detroit is outscoring opponents by 16.4 points per 100 possessions. With him on the bench, the Pistons are outscoring opponents by a mere 1.1 points per 100 possessions. The team actually performs better defensively when he’s on the floor, limiting opponents to 1.003 points per possession compared to 1.116 points per possession when he’s not out there.

Lets compare that to the starting five.

With Andre Drummond, Tobias Harris, Stanley Johnson, Avery Bradley, and Reggie Jackson on the floor this season, opponents are outscoring the Pistons by 7.2 points per 100 possessions. Not only has the unit been poor defensively, but they are only scoring at a rate of 1.122 points per possession on the offensive end.

Now, here comes the interesting part.

When Stanley Johnson got hurt, Van Gundy hinted at the possibility of using a few more three-guard lineups. There has been one three-guard lineup that has been working particularly well for the Pistons as of late.

The combination of Smith, Galloway, and Kenard is averaging 1.163 points per possession, while outscoring opponents by 5.1 points per 100 possessions. The sample size is still small, as the trio has only played 47 minutes together this season, but it is still an encouraging sign.

When employing this three-guard combination, the Pistons are committing to going small, which could make rebounding a problem. Adding Drummond to equation does all sorts of wonders to their offensive and defensive efficiency numbers.

When Drummond shares the court with Smith, Galloway, and Kenard, the Pistons are outscoring opponents by a whopping 32.1 points per 100 possessions. This combination is scoring 1.357 points per possession, while limiting opponents to just 1.036 points per possession on the defensive end of the floor.

Galloway seems to be the driving factor here. When substituting him out of the equation, the numbers seemingly fall apart. Whether its Jackson, Bradley, Johnson, or even Reggie Bullock, the Pistons’ efficiency numbers dip dramatically without Galloway on the floor, especially on the offensive end.

Stanley Johnson could return as soon as Wednesday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks. But even so, I’d like to see Stan Van Gundy give Galloway some consistent run, especially when employing three-guard lineups off of the bench.

Remember, the Pistons are undefeated during games that Galloway plays at least 15 minutes. They are 4-3 when he doesn’t.

Next: Tolliver Key To Pistons' Defense