Stan Van Gundy said Thursday afternoon that rookie Henry Ellenson will see extended minutes over the Pistons last four games. Today, Van Gundy announced Ellenson will start for the Pistons at power forward tonight against the Houston Rockets. Van Gundy is looking to see how well Ellenson and offseason acquisition Boban Marjanovic can contribute.
“Henry and Boban are guys we hope can be real contributors next year,” Van Gundy told the media earlier today.
Van Gundy also added that he hopes to play Ellenson and Marjanovic around 20-24 minutes over the last four games.
Ellenson, 20, has appeared in just 15 games this season. In his 15 appearances, Ellenson averaged 1.4 points and 0.8 rebounds in 3.8 minutes per game. He was the 18th pick by the Pistons in last offseason’s draft.
How Ellenson performs over Detroit’s last four games could impact the moves the Pistons make in the upcoming offseason.
After a very disappointing season, no player on Detroit’s roster will likely be safe. Van Gundy is a very willing dealer, and if finds a deal he likes then he may pull the trigger on it, even if it means moving one of the more valuable players on his roster.
Ellenson has the ability to impact Van Gundy’s decisions. Van Gundy and General Manager Jeff Bower selected Ellenson for his size, shooting range, and offensive potential. After meeting with Al Horford in free agency, and him signing elsewhere, Detroit signed Jon Leuer to a four-year deal. Leuer is essentially what Detroit hopes Ellenson can become. After a fantastic start to the season, Leuer cooled down and never heated up again. Depending on how well Ellenson plays, Leuer could become very expendable for Detroit.
The biggest question mark with Ellenson is his defensive abilities. Since the Orlando Summer League in July, it was apparent that Ellenson has some shortcomings defensively. Specifically, Ellenson lacked the strength and footwork to handle NBA level big men.
In the limited minutes, we have seen the rookie, he has shown flashes offensively. He possessed a nice shooting touch in summer league, and although he is just 4-14 from deep this season, the long-range capabilities are there for Ellenson.
He has spent most of his rookie season in the D-League, where he averaged 17.9 points and 8.9 rebounds on 41.6 percent shooting per game.
Stan Van Gundy and the rest of the Pistons front office will have their eyes peeled on Ellenson over these next four games, observing what he brings to the table in the now and in the future for the Pistons.
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