As Isaiah Thomas helped lift the Celtics over the Knicks on Sunday, he gave New York a glimpse into the type of player they need at point guard. But what appears to have been forgotten as of late is that the Knicks actually employ a young player with many of the same tools: Langston Galloway.
The 26-year-old Thomas is quick to react and often makes good decisions as he pushes the pace. He can penetrate, finish strong at the basket, and hit the occasional jumper as well. At 5'9", he's still a pesky defender. While Thomas is still turnover prone, it only appears due to his eagerness to get his teammates involved as he makes the transition to becoming more of a facilitator.
Such versatility from Galloway would make things easier for New York's other players.
Upon getting called up last season, Galloway was praised early on for his confidence and aggressiveness. He was assertive when getting to the basket and often had a good read on opposing defenders. What's more, he was praised by Carmelo Anthony and Knicks fans alike for never seeming to shy away from taking a big shot in a crucial moment, a la the likes of Jeremy Lin or even John Starks. He put up very strong numbers (especially for a player fresh out of the D-League midseason) across the board.
While it was thought that Galloway would embrace more of a sixth-man role on an improved team this season as opposed to starting on last year's, he was still expected to progress as a sophomore. Although he started off strong, Galloway has seemed to quietly regress in recent weeks.
To be fair, it hasn't been all his fault. Head coach Derek Fisher has made Galloway into a bit more of a spot -shooter to help spread the Knicks' offense, rather than running it and creating more rhythm. As a result, his numbers have decreased across the board: points, overall field goal percentage, rebounds, assists, and steals.
His shooting from deep has improved, but one could argue that everything else has suffered because of it. He isn't being asked, or simply given enough freedom to do the things he does best.
Perhaps if the Knicks put the ball back in Galloway's hands a bit more, all the more encouraging him to be just as aggressive as before, they'd get more of what they need than expected. He certainly has the ability to beat defenders off the dribble and guide his teammates in the pick and roll as well.
Galloway's game absolutely needs more time to develop and fully flourish. Even so, it's difficult to say that he'll become the player that Thomas is now. However, it took the five-year veteran time to come into his own as well.
If Galloway can provide the Knicks with even a taste of what the rival brings, they'd be a considerably improved team. The time to start exploring such potential is now, especially if New York considers Galloway to be a part of their future. It's important not to constrict him.