The 2016 NBA Draft was a productive one for the Detroit Pistons. Stan Van Gundy knew exactly what he wanted going in, and succeeded in securing those pieces to his team-building puzzle. With the 18th overall pick, the Pistons selected Henry Ellenson, a 6’10” forward out of Marquette University, and with the 49th pick in the draft, they selected Michael Gbinije, a versatile player out of Syracuse University, standing at 6’7”.
This year, the Pistons were looking for more young talent in the draft. Being that there are no holes in the roster at all, they had no need to secure any exact player. However, they may have made the most fitting picks that they could have made.
It was a surprise to many that Henry Ellenson was still available at number 18, having been projected to be selected as an early lottery pick. So, when Stan Van Gundy saw that he had an opportunity to select Ellenson, he did just that. Ellenson brings a great amount of talent to the Pistons that their big-men right now currently lack. He is most easily compared, in my opinion, to Kristaps Porzingis or Dirk Nowitzki, both of whom are very respectable and talented players in the NBA. He has the ability to be both a spot-up shooter inside and outside of the 3-point-arc, and has an amazing amount of skill shooting off the dribble and driving to the basket. He is just what the Pistons need for their young core, and he will surely blossom into the strong power forward that they need him to be. So, the Pistons earn an A for their first pick in the draft.
Michael Gbinije is a different kind of player, but perhaps another talent that could greatly benefit the Pistons in years to come. Gbinije is a dynamic guard who is tall enough to play inside as a forward as well. He can drive to the basket and on top of that has phenomenal shooting skills. He can easily develop into a young contributor in the Pistons’ system if he puts on a show during Summer League play, which is likely what will be expected of him. Gbinije can be seen as another steal for the Pistons, because he definitely could’ve been picked earlier in the Second Round, or even in the First. Overall, he is certainly another piece that the Pistons could benefit from, and for that they earn an A-.
Overall, the Pistons did well, adding young players to their organization who can either develop now and contribute later, or even contribute immediately. It will be exciting to watch these players grow and see how they serve the Pistons as they look to make another playoff run next season.
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