The Pistons drafted Michael Gbinije with the 49th pick in the NBA Draft last year. Gbinije played one season at Duke, before transferring to Syracuse for the final three seasons of his college career. He showed off his playmaking ability, defensive potential, and sweet shooting stroke.
While there was never any expectation for Gbinije to play a major role for Detroit this season, he did play less than some expected. He appeared in just nine games with the Pistons, averaging just 3.6 minutes per game. He shot just 1-10 from the field this season, a huge sample size. Even though Gbinije did not play much at the NBA level, he did spend a good chunk of time down in the D-League, with the Grand Rapids Drive.
The 24-year old rookie played 16 games with the Drive throughout the season. In 35 minutes per game, he averaged 12 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. While he did not shoot very efficiently from three, 33.3 percent, he did shoot very well inside the arc, 53.5 percent.
Shooting wise. Gbinije’s best spot from deep is on the wings. He can hit from there in multiple ways, whether it be in a catch and shoot situation, off the dribble, or in the pick and roll. Percentage wise, Gbinije did not shoot well from three, but he does have potential to be a sharpshooter in time. Continued reps whether it be at the D-League or NBA level, will help him improve in that area.
One thing Stan Van Gundy spoke about is how he hopes that Gbinije can become a point guard, or at least have the ability to play the one for a few minutes. Neither with the Pistons or Drive, did we see Gbinije get a look at point guard. The Pistons were busy giving Reggie Jackson, Ish Smith, and Beno Udrih all their minutes at the one. With the Drive, Ray McCallum, Lorenzo Brown, and Trey Freeman consumed the majority of minutes there.
Even if both Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Reggie Bullock did not return to the Pistons, which is very unlikely, Gbinije likely does not have a role with the Pistons next season. He is behind both KCP and Bullock, as well as Darrun Hilliard and Stanley Johnson. Even worse for Gbinije, is that Stan Van Gundy hinted that the Pistons could sign a combo guard in free agency this offseason.
Next season will likely repeat this season. Gbinije will likely spend the majority of the season with the Drive. It would be interesting to see him receive legitimate minutes at the point guard spot, to assess if he has the talent and capabilities to pay in the NBA at the position.
Another offseason, including a couple weeks with the Pistons Summer League roster, will do Gbinije good.
All in all, this season was a quiet one for Michael Gbinije, and many questions still remain with his NBA potential.
Featured image: Chris Szagola/AP