1. I think we've all noticed over the last three months that Langston Galloway works on defense. He fights over screens, he sends guards toward the baseline in harmony with his big men, he gets steals, and he contests shots more often than not. It feels like we have the "man, the Knicks lost by 70, but...Langston Galloway kinda locked down [other team's best guard] tonight" conversation a couple times a week.
2. I saw Zach Lowe SMHing and LOLing on Twitter today:
These numbers just make you shake your head and laugh: http://t.co/czdoBSCsSH— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) March 10, 2015
That's a link to Anthony Davis's defensive tracking numbers on NBA.com. They show how Davis's contests affect the shooting percentage of opposing players, and do so on as individual a level as any stat can muster (these are SportVU-tracked plays with confirmed shot contests, so we're not making assumptions or subtracting from lineup data or anything). FG% is the shooter's season-long accuracy on that shot. DFG% is the shooter's accuracy on that shot when guarded by Davis. Very simple. That's all averaged together, and the number on the far right is the difference, which is quite negative in this case:
Anthony Davis makes everyone shoot worse from everywhere. Significantly worse. That's really impressive! I saw that and I was duly impressed, and then ...
3. I remembered the Langston Galloway defensive tracking dashboard Joe's been showing us:
I don't mean to directly compare the two as defenders. Davis has played twice as many games this year, defended several more shots per game, and done so against very different sorts of players at a different position. We're also only measuring field goal percentage, which is just one element of defense.
But to echo the above sentiment: Langston Galloway makes everyone shoot worse from everywhere. Much, much worse. And that's really impressive! The Knicks have been a horrible defensive team, especially in the backcourt (hi Jose Calderon!), but in 24 games, Galloway has been an island of shot-contesting excellence.
To look beyond the Davis comparison, check out some elite perimeter defenders, noted two-way point guards, and DPOY candidates. These guys have played many more games in very different contexts, but their tracking profiles still underscore the fact that Langston Galloway has ruined opposing shooters in 2015. That's all this says, and it says it clearly. The Knicks suck, but they've done so recently with quite an effective shot-stopper among them. I hope Galloway keeps it up, and I understand why he's a guy New York would like to keep around.