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Langston Galloway can rebound

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Langston Galloway has provided major contributions for the Knicks so far this season. One area in which he has excelled, perhaps unexpectedly, is rebounding.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

As the role Langston Galloway carves for himself on the Knicks expands seemingly by the game, his timely and efficient shooting has remained at the forefront of people's minds. However, Galloway has also excelled so far this season in a perhaps unexpected area: rebounding.

Galloway currently ranks fourth among NBA point guards in overall rebound rate this young season, ahead of the likes of known triple-double threats Ricky Rubio and Kyle Lowry. He has commanded the defensive boards this season, also ranking fourth among NBA point guards, ahead of Russell Westbrook. In fact, Galloway's 15.8 defensive rebound rate is 2.2 better than the player who takes opening tips for the New York Knicks.

Because all of Galloway's front court teammates are more skilled on the offensive glass than the defensive, the responsibility to rebound when opponents miss falls on Knicks guards. It's great that Kyle O'Quinn and Kristaps Porzingis rank 3rd and 4th in offensive rebound rate among NBA power forwards, respectively, but neither cracks the top 25 on the other end.

So, Galloway's penchant for cleaning the defensive glass has become even more paramount. He finished last season tied with Chris Paul for 11th place among NBA point guards in defensive rebound rate (as well as 11th in overall rate), but can we rely on 50 NBA games to tell the tale? His college rebounding numbers would indicate that the current trend is at least somewhat sustainable, while his D-League numbers corroborate the theory. He has recorded at least four rebounds in each of his 7 appearances so far this season, none more important than his last. How has he been doing it?

The above video compiles three unique defensive rebounds Langston Galloway has managed to snag so far this season, culminating in what I believe to be the play of the game during yesterday afternoon's victory over the Lakers.

  1. Galloway puts excellent defensive pressure on Dennis Schroeder, who fakes a shot and passes to Al Horford, who takes the midrange jumper. Galloway tracks the miss and leaps to tip the ball to himself away from the outstretched arms of Mike Scott, who is listed at 6'8", and secure the rebound to end the possession.
  2. Paul Millsap misses a free throw to the left, where Kyle O'Quinn is positioned for the defensive board. Tiago Splitter harasses O'Quinn enough to jar the ball loose, and seems poised to secure the ball before Langston Galloway crashes into the edge of the paint to secure the rebound.
  3. After a Galloway three pointer puts the Knicks up two points later in the fourth quarter, Kobe Bryant takes a wing three pointer for the lead, which misses left. Kristaps Porzingis fouls Julius Randle while boxing him out, which goes uncalled. Still, Randle nearly manages to grab the board before Galloway swoops in to grab the athletic rebound and exacerbate the Lakers' dire situation.

NBA.com's rebound tracking tool allows us to analyze further the impressive performance Galloway has put on so far this season. For example, he has done a particularly excellent job securing rebounds off three point misses, with 40% of his boards coming off shots from 19+ feet. Furthermore, Galloway excels at grabbing contested boards that careen far from the hoop:

His season so far, as well as his history in the D-League and in college, indicate that 6'2" Langston Galloway will ultimately play a significant role in the Knicks' success this season. Based on what we know, it would be a safe bet that he will continue to impact games with his rebounding, particularly in the area around the free throw line. Without a dominant front court defensive rebounder such as Tyson Chandler, the Knicks will need to make due with a group effort. Galloway deserves credit for leading that charge so far.