Yesterday, for the first time in more than a year, I found myself completely isolated from the Celtics and NBA world. I was helping my girlfriend move into her new apartment and had no way to check news. Computer? No internet. Phone? It died. TV? It wasn’t set up. I felt sick to my stomach. I always — always! — know every bit of Celtics news as soon as it breaks, but yesterday was the lone exception.
You can imagine my shock when I returned to civilization and the Celtics had signed Tiny Gallon to a non-guaranteed deal. It was just a strange signing, in so many ways. The Celtics don’t have any roster spots available, and the 6’9″, 300 lb. Gallon (who averaged 10.3 points and 7.9 rebounds last year in his only season at Oklahoma) couldn’t possibly play his way onto the team in the span of one week (right?). So the C’s must have signed him specifically to get a brief look at him and then they’ll likely try to stash him in Maine with the Red Claws. A good investment, considering his potential, but not your everday NBA transaction.
Since a lot of you probably don’t know much about Gallon, I’ve written an introduction. I’ve chosen to do it using Good Will Hunting quotes – partially because it makes my writing a little less boring, but mostly because I love that damn movie.
“I can be in the NBA. I’m tall, I like to wear shorts. Hook! Hook! Dunk! Dunk! Baby, I’m all about three points.” – Skylar
Probably my least favorite line in the entire movie. There’s just something about the way she says, “Hook hook dunk dunk” that bothers me. Despite my utter hatred for the line, I just couldn’t ignore how well it fit this piece.
Gallon’s an NBA talent. He has issues holding him back (weight being the biggest), but Gallon should ultimately find a place in the NBA. He’s tall, I assume he doesn’t mind wearing shorts, and he’s got an incredibly high upside for a 47th pick. Hook hook, dunk dunk.
Right now his deficiencies are — pardon the pun — weighing him down. Gallon’s built for the low post, but prefers to play a face-up game. He can score even at his size and his agility – a la Big Baby – belies his monstrous frame, yet Gallon’s lack of elite mobility hinders him, especially defensively.
Even with his glaring weaknesses, signing Gallon — and, I’m sure, subsequently stashing him in Maine — could pay big benefits down the road. You can’t teach 6’9″ tall and 7’4″ wingspan, and you can’t teach some of the innate basketball skills Gallon displays.
“You ever have any, uh, experience with that? … No. I mean, have you ever had any experience with that?” – Will
Actually, I do have experience seeing Gallon in person. It was two years ago, when he was still in high school. At that time, Gallon fit his nickname Tiny even less than he does now (his given name is Keith). He’s probably lost 25 pounds or so since I saw him that day, doing battle with Derrick Favors.
My first impression of Gallon, after watching him play for only a quarter, was that he was overrated. He had been hyped by the tournament as one of the country’s top players, and would soon be named a McDonald’s All-American, but Gallon’s physique and athletic ability don’t initially impress. He’s miles from physically toned, could fit a credit card under his vertical leap, and could barely beat Zydrunas Ilgauskas in a foot race. Playing against Favors, Gallon looked like he was stuck in quicksand. Playing against Gallon, Favors looked like he was bouncing on a trampoline.
But as I watched Gallon more, I realized why he was so hyped. His hands are like vacuums; they catch everything. He makes Big Baby look small, but still possesses a nice perimeter game. He spends too much time away from the basket rather than down low, but still: the skills are there. He has nice touch, a decent face-up game, and — when he’s not floating around the three-point arc (yes, it’s alarming to see a 6’9″, 300-lb. man shoot long bombs) — rebounds like an ox. I found myself wishing Gallon would play in the paint more often, where he could utilize those soft hands and silky touch, but I couldn’t argue with his results. He hit six three-pointers that day. Six! Did I mention that he weighs three hundred pounds?
With his team down 11 points in the third quarter, Gallon took over the game. After scoring 22 points and 13 rebounds, igniting a game-saving rally, and holding his own against Favors (25 points, 17 rebounds), I left the game with Tiny Gallon fever. But I wasn’t sure about his pro potential. He looked more like a blimp than a prototypical NBA big man.
Which brings me to my next quote.
“No. No, no no no. Fuck you, you don’t owe it to yourself man, you owe it to me. Cuz tomorrow I’m gonna wake up and I’ll be 50, and I’ll still be doin’ this shit. And that’s all right. That’s fine. I mean, you’re sittin’ on a winnin’ lottery ticket. And you’re too much of a pussy to cash it in, and that’s bullshit. ‘Cause I’d do fuckin’ anything to have what you got. So would any of these fuckin’ guys. It’d be an insult to us if you’re still here in 20 years. Hangin’ around here is a fuckin’ waste of your time.” – Chuckie
Gallon has all the tools to be an NBA All-Star. Seriously. The kid’s got all kinds of game. But until he sheds all the baby fat and gets his head screwed on straight, he’s going to be just what he is now: a player who shuffles from team to team, trying to find his way onto a roster as the 15th man.
You could make the case that he’s talented enough to deserve a spot now, even with the excess weight. I wouldn’t argue with you. There are certainly less talented players in the NBA. In the end, though, it all comes down to the weight.
(Note: And maturity. Gallon isn’t particularly known as a problem child, but there are red flags. Despite his immense talent (again, pardon the pun), Gallon’s high school coach almost kicked him out of Oak Hill Academy. Gallon’s high school coach also said this quote, talking about Gallon’s good outlet passes: “He would throw it long about five times a game last year, then I figured out why. He didn’t want to run the court. That way he could take a possession off and rest.” Ladies and gentlemen, Tiny Gallon.)
Gallon’s sitting on a lottery ticket, his basketball talent. But until he decides to lose that weight, he’ll never cash it in. Hanging around the fringe of NBA rosters is a fucking waste of his time.
“See, the sad thing about a guy like you is in 50 years you’re gonna staht doin some thinkin on your own and you’re gonna come up with the fact that there are two certainties in life. One, don’t do that. And Two, you dropped a hundred and fifty grand on a fuckin education you coulda got for a dollah fifty in late chahges at the public library.” Will
… to which Tiny Gallon responds, “And three, if you were a 6’9″ monster with outside touch, you could have actually been paid $3,000 for that same education.”