An In-Depth Look at Second Round Pick Michael Gbinije

With the 49th pick of the NBA draft the Pistons drafted Syracuse senior guard Michael Gbinije. While this wasn’t the point guard that I was hoping the Pistons would select, this senior has game. Here’s what you can expect from newest Piston, Mike Gbinije.

Gbinije is a very good three-point shooter. Over the last two seasons he shot 39% from deep, averaging four three-point shots per game in 2014-2015 and six three-point shots in 2015-2016. This is the biggest reason he averaged 12.7 points per game and 17.5 points per game over the last two seasons. Some people have questioned his shot mechanics a little, but I’m not someone who stresses form as much if the results are there. Even if his mechanics cause his three-point percentage to drop a little in the NBA, he should still be pretty good.

Gbinije is a dependable ball handler. Although his natural position is on the wing at either shooting guard or small forward, he functioned as the primary point guard last year at Syracuse. He’s not really a shot creator who can penetrate with easy, but he is still very comfortable running the offense and being the man with the ball in his hands.  This means two things for the Pistons. One is that he can function as a third string point guard should the team find themselves in desperate need. The second is that he will be more comfortable than most rookie wing players with the ball in his hands, making him more prepared to make an instant impact at the next level.

While Syracuse runs a zone defense most of the time, Gbinije did very well in this system. He averaged 1.9 steals per game each of the last two seasons. He is light on his feet and keeps his hands up while on the perimeter. He will need to get better as a defender, particularly in man to man, but he seems to have a good understanding of the fundamentals. Combining that with his 6’7 size, he could turn into a very good defender as a shooting guard.

The last big part of Gbinije’s game that really stands out to me is his motor. Over the last two years he averaged 35.0 and 37.9 minutes per game. Despite this he never showed any indication of slowing down. Stan Van Gundy likely saw Gbinije’s ability to play heavy minutes as a plus. Van Gundy played both Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Marcus Morris over 35 minutes per game last season. Gbinije is a guy who won’t give up on a play; he’ll run when the other team is in transition to try to make a play and he’ll put himself in a position to grab loose balls. If watching him play didn’t tell you all you need to know about his work ethic perhaps his continued improvement will sway you. Over his career his numbers have gone up every single season. His points per game went from 3.4 to 12.7 to 17.5 over his three years with the Orange. This is a testament to how hard he works off the court.

While Gbinije has flaws, there is no major hole to his game. He isn’t an explosive athlete and may struggle with a bigger, stronger, faster NBA. As a direct result of his limited athleticism he will probably never be a great defender or a great scorer. Other than that, there is very little not to like about him.

Gbinije will likely be a career role player, I would guess coming off the bench for most of his career. That being said, he has a very solid skill set that could give him a long career. His ability to be a defender and shoot gives him instant value and being a trustworthy ball handler means he could see action sooner than most rookies. I expect him to compete for the back up shooting guard minutes from day one and I won’t be surprised if he wins the job to start the season over Darrun Hilliard.

Featured image via: USA Today Sports

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