You never know how it would’ve panned out for guard Langston Galloway if the Knicks didn’t give the undrafted St. Joe’s guard a shot back in 2014-15.
Galloway joined Derek Fisher’s middling club in midseason on a 10-day contract out of G-League Westchester. Galloway instantly became a cult hero, promptly banging in a series of late game-winning bombs to provide a shred of joy in that 17-65 campaign.
Galloway came back the next season to play in all 82 games, eventually earning himself a $10.6 million contract from New Orleans.
Seven years after his unlikely Knicks debut, Galloway is not just still around but on center stage, part of the ragamuffin Suns that stunned the league this season by making it to the NBA Finals that begin Tuesday night in Phoenix against the Bucks.
Galloway, the 29-year-old combo guard, played in 40 of the 72 regular-season games, but coach Monty Williams has shrunk the rotation in the playoffs, leaving Galloway with a smaller role.
“At the beginning of the year, I won’t lie, I knew we were a playoff team but couldn’t see how we’d figure it out to make the Finals,’’ Galloway told The Post in a phone interview. “As the season progressed we figured it out. That was big. Every single guy that came in made the most of the opportunity. It’s good to see how the team came together. It wasn’t built around a Big 3. It just kind of formed.
“We know if we win a championship, we’ll have proved every single doubter wrong. Every series we played in the playoffs, everyone counted us out and all year they counted us out. It’s been an underdog story.’’
And there’s no bigger underdog than Galloway, who has now toiled in the league for seven seasons. He’s not blessed with an exaggerated skill set — just a tireless worker, defender, good 3-point shooter and overall terrific locker-room guy.
“There were definitely doubts,’’ Galloway said. “On draft night [in 2014], that was a whole whirlwind. In Westchester, not knowing when I was going to be called up. There’s a million guys who play my position and not knowing if my time was going to come. I knew when I got my opportunity, I had to capitalize on it.’’
And so he did — at the Garden that was reeling from stumbling in Phil Jackson’s first year as a president and Fisher’s first year as a head coach. Galloway provided a little life, averaging 11.8 points, shooting 35.8 percent from 3.
“I know the Knicks fans want to see you play hard — dive on the floor, hustling,’’ Galloway said. “How much effort you put in the game. That’s what I enjoyed. They were amazing.
“I was very fortunate and blessed I had two guys there who had my back, Lance Thomas and Lou Amundson. They were in my corner every step of the way. When I had a good game, they’d be like, ‘You got to do it again.’ When I reached the Finals, they reached out. They were happy for me and I appreciate what they did for my career.’’
The Pelicans traded Galloway to Sacramento, then he wound up spending three seasons with Detroit. He was having his best season statistically, shooting 39.9 percent from 3-point land, when the pandemic ended the campaign and the Pistons weren’t invited to the restart in Orlando.
Galloway wound up signing with Phoenix before this season and he improved his 3-point shooting to 42.4 percent, averaging 11 minutes.
There’s always been a spot for Galloway.
“I really look at how my demeanor is and just being a professional,’’ Galloway said. “I figure I got that kind of rep of a professional that he’ll come in every day and work his tail off. That’s the overall thing everyone always mentions about me. And when I do have an opportunity and showcase myself, I prove it.’’
Galloway signed a one-year deal, so if the Suns win a title, he knows he may not be there for the championship ceremony in October.
“The biggest thing I’ve been able to contribute here is a perspective of a guy that’s been through the wringer, been through a lot of challenges,’’ Galloway said. “It’s been a journey for me — a lot of ups and downs. This season has been one of those years, too — ups and downs, playing, not playing. But I’ve been learning a lot this year. I’m excited to see what’s next. Win a championship, then not knowing my next stop and where I’m headed.’’