Undrafted Langston Galloway making mark with Knicks, has sights set even higher

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BOSTON – Langston Galloway considered returning home to his native Louisiana during the All-Star break, but he figured he wouldn’t have enough time to properly visit with everyone in his large and supportive family.

Besides, he had an opportunity of a lifetime in New York.

The Knicks rookie leaned on teammates to secure tickets to All-Star festivities in Madison Square Garden and Barclays Centers. In a highlight of his young NBA career, Galloway watched three days of events, particularly enjoying the actual game Sunday.

“Just looking at it as, hey, maybe one day I can get there,” Galloway said.

Galloway was on hand for the Rising Stars Challenge, too. Asked about the possibility of making that game next season, he lights up.

“Definitely, yeah,” Galloway said. “Shooting for anything and everything possible.”

At this point, anything and everything seems possible for the 23-year-old.

Despite going undrafted, Galloway ranks third among rookies in points per game (11.0) behind only No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins (15.9) and No. 2 pick Jabari Parker (12.3).

Galloway didn’t get called up from the D-League until January, but he has quickly shown:

A clutch streak, making 6-of-9 3-pointers in the final five minutes of a five-point game, including these:

An opportunistic sense for making thrilling plays:

“He just showed a level of composure and poise for a first-year player that was pretty special,”  Knicks coach Derek Fisher said. “Didn’t seem to get sped up by competition. Even sometimes the guy’s better than him, he still seems to play at a pace that’s comfortable for him. He’s not afraid to take and make shots when he’s open. Doesn’t pass up on opportunities. And he’s not afraid to guard any guy out there.”

Galloway, who has started 20 of his 24 games with the Knicks, has a real shot at making an All-Rookie team. If he does, he’d become just the 11th undrafted player to do so* and just fourth to do it in the season immediately after going undrafted.**

*Gary Neal, Jamario Moon, Walter Herrmann, Jorge Garbajosa, Marquis Daniels, Udonis Haslem, J.R. Bremer, Chucky Atkins, Matt Maloney, Larry Stewart

**Daniels, Bremer, Stewart

Galloway’s chances are certainly helped by playing in New York. His success in league’s largest market has already boosted his profile.

But how good is Galloway actually?

The main reason he has an All-Rookie chance despite playing a max of 45 games is the underwhelming output – due to injury or otherwise – of this draft class.

And the Knicks have been starved for a young player of his caliber. Sure, his 11 points per game are nice, but they’re hardly historic – at least for teams outside New York.

Channing Frye, the No. 8 pick in 2005, is the only Knicks rookie to average so many points per game in the previous 25 years. Just the Jazz (Trey Burke) and Pacers (nobody) have had so few rookies hit that mark in that span.

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Galloway gets his points in a variety of ways, which is a bit surprising. He shot 39.2, 46.6, 39.4 and 44.7 percent on 3-pointers in four seasons at Saint Joseph’s. Outside shooting appeared to be his only NBA-caliber skill, but Galloway also gets into the lane consistently, and he rebounds well for a guard. It’s hardly a strength yet, but the 6-foot-2 Galloway has also improved as a point guard after primarily playing off guard in college.

If you want to extend it further, he plays with an infectious joy on a team headed for its worst record in franchise history.

“Just going out there each day and having fun, that’s the main thing,” Galloway said. “It’s not a job to me. It’s just like out there having fun like I’ve been playing since I’ve been four years old.”

Not every day of this journey has been fun, though.

Galloway recalls the disappointment of draft night, hearing 60 names – though not his own – called. He took the following day off, his first relaxing day in months. Since Saint Joseph’s lost to Connecticut in the NCAA Tournament, Galloway had been working out daily to prepare for the draft.

On June 27, he just laid in bed and played video games.

“You’d rather be going to another city or wherever you’re playing at,” Galloway said. “But at the same time, just to spend time with my family, they definitely helped me get through that whole day off and then moved onto the next day to start getting back in the gym.”

The Knicks signed him for training camp, waived him and assigned him to their D-League affiliate in Westchester. When New York signed him to an NBA contract, Galloway was ready thanks to his parents.

“They’ve always told me never be scared of anything,” Galloway said. “And just my confidence in myself, knowing I can go out there and compete against anybody in this world.”

It’s a message his extended family, including his uncles, has reinforced.

Appreciative, Galloway is looking forwarding to doing this summer what he didn’t have time to do during the All-Star break – going home and celebrating his success with everyone.

“Eat some crawfish and some bad food that people wouldn’t understand around here,” Galloway said. “But just catch up and eat some Cajun food.”

LeBron James finishes left-handed alley-oop with head behind backboard

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We have reached the point with LeBron James and his legendary career that the incredible almost seems ordinary — he has made our jaws drop so many times it’s hard for him to clear the bar of amazing anymore.

He did Saturday night against Utah.

In transition, LeBron gave up the ball to Jeff Green, who returned the favor with an alley-oop pass. Just not a particularly good one, it was behind James.

So he reaches back with his left hand and throws it down as he ducks his head under the backboard. Then LeBron stops and stares at his left hand, like he can’t believe what he just did.

We can’t either.

Carmelo Anthony standing ovation in return to Madison Square Garden

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Knicks fans may have had their frustrations with Carmelo Anthony, but they know how much he has meant to the franchise over the years. He pushed to be a Knick and chose to stay, he carried the franchise for years.

Saturday night he returned to Madison Square Garden in an Oklahoma City Thunder uniform after a trade this summer, and he was welcomed with a retrospective video followed by a standing ovation from the crowd (you can see all of it above).

Well done Knicks fans. Well done.

Lakers’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will not travel with team for 25 days due to legal issue

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The Lakers’Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed his new team’s first two games this season due to a suspension for a DUI case in Michigan.

But that was not all. Caldwell-Pope’s came with probation, and to get out of it early the Lakers’ forward has to go through an intensive rehab program — one that does not allow him to leave California with the team for 25 days. He did not play against the Cavaliers and that is just the first of multiple games he will miss, a story broken by Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Caldwell-Pope was originally cited for operating a vehicle while intoxicated but pleaded guilty in May to the lesser charge of allowing someone to operate his vehicle while under the influence, which carried a 12-month probation.

On Thursday, Caldwell-Pope had to return to California to begin an intensive program over the next 25 days that will result in some travel restrictions and could cause him to miss additional games but will end his probation early.

The Lakers are in a home heavy part of their schedule, and by my calculations KCP would only miss one or two games (for sure against Houston Dec. 20, then maybe against Golden State Dec. 22, but that is in California). The Lakers next road game after that is Dec. 31 in Houston again.

Caldwell-Pope signed a one-year, $18 million deal with the Lakers last offseason, and he has gone on to become one of the few reliable three-point shooters on the team, hitting 36.1 percent from beyond the arc, taking 6.1 shots from there a game. He’s been solid on defense and a player the Lakers’ need, although his overall efficiency is closer to average.

If the Lakers are successful with their big game hunting during free agency next summer, Caldwell-Pope will not return to the team. In a tight free agent market, he may once again not see offers near what he sees himself worth next summer. That said, his play in Los Angeles has been good. And now he will not have this legal issue hanging over his head during free agency.

LeBron James is good with televising All-Star team selections

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From the moment the NBA announced changes to the All-Star Game team selection format for this season, most NBA fans — as well as most media members I know — have wanted a live team selection show.

As a reminder, this year (as in past years) fans will vote for their favorite All-Stars, and those votes will be combined with media and player votes to name the five starters from each conference. Then the coaches will vote to select the teams.

What’s different is the top vote-getters from each conference — let’s be honest, it will be LeBron James in the East and Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant in the West — will be named captains and they will then pick their teams from the pool of other selected players. No East vs. West. If LeBron gets to choose first and he picks James Harden, then Harden is on that team. Curry can go second and select Giannis Antetokounmpo or whoever he wants from the starters pool, then the captains move into the reserves pool. Old-school playground style team picking.

Who wouldn’t tune it to watch that selection show?

The NBA officially has not decided yet if the selection process will be broadcast, but it probably won’t be. The reason is some player is not going to like being picked last (or next to last) and his agent will like it less. It gets political (would Curry have to choose Durant or Draymond Green first to keep his teammates happy?).

LeBron basically said Saturday why not televise it? From Nick Friedell of ESPN, when LeBron was asked if it would bother him to go against teammates in the All-Star Game:

“I hope not,” James said after Saturday’s shootaround. “We’re all grown men. It doesn’t stop their paycheck from coming. It won’t stop you from playing time once the season starts.”

And is he good with the pick order being made public or done live.

“It doesn’t matter to me,” James said. “It doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, if I’m rewarded to be a part of the All-Star Game again, that’s cool for me. It doesn’t matter. All that other stuff is extracurricular.”

That’s the right attitude, and whoever got picked last would say that publicly. But privately… who knows? Depends on the guy.

That selection show would be must-watch television. The NBA needs to broadcast this. But it won’t. Politics will win out.