It may not seem like it right now since he hasn’t played in over a year, but Josh Langford’s health is key to Michigan State basketball’s title run.
Everything was going right for Michigan State in 2018-19, to an extent, in non-conference play and the Spartans seemed to be picking up momentum at the right time heading into conference play.
And then Josh Langford went down with an injury.
Panic started to set it but Michigan State still found a way to win the Big Ten and get jot at the right time, making a run at a Final Four. Cassius Winston stepped up his play and led the Spartans to three wins over Michigan in the span of a month, including a victory in the Big Ten Tournament title game. Langford was missed, but the team proved it could win without him despite the junior being in the midst of a career year.
And then Langford was ruled out of the 2019-20 season despite being considered a key piece to the puzzle if the Spartans were going to three-peat as Big Ten champs. They did it anyway.
But now all of a sudden, his return seems more important than ever. For almost two full seasons, Michigan State has shown that it can win without him. Why now is he critical to success?
It’s not that he was never “critical” to Michigan State’s success but the Spartans had enough veteran pieces to help replace his production. That’s not the case anymore with Kyle Ahrens, Cassius Winston and Xavier Tillman all gone. Now, more than ever, Langford will be needed to step up as a veteran leader and scoring option.
Plus, the backcourt depth is lacking and he might be look at to take some of the pressure off Rocket Watts at the point. He’s not a point guard, but he’s a two-guard who has proven he can handle the ball. That’s incredibly important.
If Langford isn’t healthy this season, the backcourt will take a massive hit and it’s going to make another title run almost miraculous.
Michigan State needs Langford to be back and productive (not necessarily a 15 points per game scorer) if it wants to push for a four-peat in the Big Ten and another Final Four berth.