Summer time basketball is here. The NBA’s Summer League begins today, and the Pistons are apart of it. In Orlando today, Detroit meets the New York Knicks at 3P.M. Detroit’s team is loaded with young talent,and here is who you should pay attention to throughout this week.
Stanley Johnson- Stanley Johnson was great In Summer League last year, but this year the Pistons want to see Johnson improve on his weaknesses. Last year Johnson was the go to score for the Pistons Summer League team, and he’ll likely be that again. with Darrun Hilliard unable to play, that leaves Stanley Johnson, Michael Gbinije, and Lorenzo Brown to handle the load of the scoring. Stan Van Gundy wants Johnson to improve his ball-handling, shooting, footwork, and decision-making. He is going to be one of the leaders on this team, and him being a leader should help him improve in his decision-making. The biggest area of improvement that Johnson needs to work on is his shooting. Wether it is his pull-up jumper or three-point shot, Johnson has to work on the mechanics of his shot. Live in-game action, should help Johnson improve. There is no reason for Johnson not to be one of, if not the best player in Orlando this week for Summer League.
Lorenzo Brown- Like every summer, Lorenzo Brown is fighting for a spot on an NBA roster. For years he has worked to get a multi-year contract, and last season he got with the Pistons. That contract however, isn’t guaranteed. With Brown and Reggie Jackson the only two point guards on the main roster, Detroit inked Ish Smith to a 3-year $18 million deal yesterday. Brown signed multiple 10-day contracts last season with the Pistons, and eventually signed a multi-year deal with Detroit. Now, Brown has to go out this year in Summer League and prove that he deserves a spot on the Pistons roster. He will be the main point guard along with Michael Gbinije. Brown should look like a veteran out on the court this week in summer ball this week will play a big factor into if he makes the Pistons final roster.
Michael Gbinije- Michael Gbinije will have a lot of eyes on him this week. He has been counted as a 6’7 point guard, and everyone wants to see if he can truly play point guard in the NBA. Gbinije was Detroit’s 2nd round pick in this year’s NBA Draft, and he should be more than ready for the NBA. He is 24 years old and played for one of the best college basketball programs at Syracuse. He averaged 17.5 points and 4.3 assists per game in his senior season at Syracuse. Last year, it was Darrun Hilliard that everyone wanted to get a look at in Summer League, and this year Michael Gbinije is that man. Gbinije is also will be fighting for the backup shooting guard spot next season. He’ll be competing with Hilliard and Reggie Bullock for that spot. This is a big opportunity, with Hilliard out, to play his way into the backup shooting guard position.
Henry Ellenson- Henry Ellenson is the Stanley Johnson of this year in Summer League. He is the prized rookie. Ellenson somehow fell to Detroit in the NBA Draft. A 6’10 combo big, Ellenson came out of Marquette as a freshman. He dominated the BIg East, averaged 17 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. He has a great offensive game, whether he is shooting the ball or posting up down low. One area of his game that Ellenson needs to work on is his three-point shooting. He shot 29% in college, and Detroit needs and expects him to improve in that area. Defensively, Ellenson needs to show improvement. This is why Summer League is perfect for him. He will be able to work on those areas of his game with talented players and coaches around him. Ellenson is presumably fighting for the backup power forward spot with a player to be determined, as Detroit is reportedly looking for a power forward in free agency.
Jordan Bachynski- Detroit plans on pursuing a power forward in free agency, but they still want to add depth at the center position. There is more and more belief that Detroit is going to waive Joel Anthony, and Bachynski could be the player to replace him. He is 7’2 and a supreme shot blocker. Bachynski was signed by the Pistons last year, but was waived before the season began. He dominated in the D-League last season for the Westchester Knicks, averaging 13 points, 7 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game. At 26, Bachynski would be a young and cheap option for the Pistons. He is the current Piston on the Summer League team that isn’t on the Pistons main roster to watch.