National media give Pistons high marks in draft

The Detroit News
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Henry Ellenson

Here is a rundown of how the national media graded the Pistons’ draft.

After the draft got topsy-turvy, it settled back into another terrific value pick. Able to score on the block, put it on the deck and hit an open jumper, Henry Ellenson was No. 6 on my Big Board and is one of the most offensively skilled bigs in the class. The Pistons need shooters around Andre Drummond, and Ellenson — also a good rebounder — seems tailor-made for what Stan Van Gundy likes to do. This was a no-brainer choice. — Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated

Grade: A

The Pistons were opportunistic at No. 18 and landed a high-value player in Ellenson. He was ranked in our top 10 for most of the season before teams began to get concerned about his athleticism.

I'm not as concerned. He's super skilled, can shoot 3s, has a terrific midrange game and can also play center. I think he's a really nice fit next to Andre Drummond long term.

Michael Gbinije would've gone 30 spots higher if he weren't already 24 years old. He's the sort of wing playmaker and shooter most teams were coveting in the draft — Chad Ford, ESPN 

Grade: A-minus

Grabbing a player of Ellenson’s size (6-10), age (19) and skill set (in school, at least, he was able to capably score inside and out) at 18 was fantastic for Detroit; but legitimate questions remain as to just how well Ellenson’s game will translate to the pros. Especially his low post leanings, in a league that just doesn’t really do a whole heck of a lot of that anymore. Gbinije, already age 24, is a longshot to make it as a 3-and-D guy. — Kelly Dwyer, Yahoo Sports

Grade: B

The Pistons had no real needs in this draft (their biggest priority is developing their young, exciting core), so more power to them for going out and getting two players who eventually could be contributors on their roster.

Ellenson specifically could be a big get, as a versatile big man (with nice offensive game) off the bench. Considering he was projected as a late lottery pick, Detroit could have done a lot worse at No. 18. — Aaron Torres, Fox Sports

Grade: B-plus

Van Gundy: Gbinije’s 'size' trumped Oakland’s Felder

Ellenson is a really solid pickup for Detroit due to his ability to play two positions. The Pistons could use a backup center, and Ellenson could play 5 behind Drummond in some lineups. Also, we know how much Stan Van Gundy likes floor-spacing big men, and Ellenson could provide some of that in lineups surrounding Drummond. The defense is a question though. — Sam Vecenie,

Grade: B

Gbinije is older and a good shooter, so he might be able to contribute sooner rather than later. He'll fit right into Detroit's offense under Stan Van Gundy. — Sam Vecenie, CBS Sports 

Grade: A-minus

Ellenson is definitely one of the most interesting players in this year’s draft class, especially after falling this far. He excelled as a freshman at Marquette, showing prowess in stretching the floor while also developing his game in the paint in both the low post and on the pick-and-roll. Ellenson should be a great fit alongside Andre Drummond and provides the Pistons a strong presence at power forward, making him an absolute steal at No. 18 even if he does have some bust potential. — Josh Benjamin, Forbes 

Grade: A-

The Detroit Pistons have to be thanking their lucky stars, because Henry Ellenson is a perfect fit for their roster. He should be similarly happy, because the Pistons are one of the organizations able to maximize his strengths and minimize his weaknesses.

Next to Andre Drummond, Ellenson's lack of athletic ability shouldn't be too prominent. Detroit won't ask him to muscle up in the paint or protect the rim on a regular basis, leaving the heavy lifting to his stronger frontcourt counterpart. More importantly, the Pistons want shooting from every position to space the court around Drummond.

Don't be fooled by the one-and-done power forward's 28.8 percent shooting from deep at Marquette. His ability at the free-throw stripe and shooting form both bode well for development, and he should eventually extend his range beyond the NBA's three-point arc.

Can Michael Gbinije shoot? Of course he can! He was drafted by the Pistons!

Often operating as a positionless player at Syracuse, he showed off a dizzying array of skills with the Orange. He'll likely settle in as a NBA small forward, but he can handle the responsibilities of multiple positions and serve as a secondary ball-handler for Detroit.

That said, it will take him some time to adjust defensively after working in Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim's vaunted zone schemes for three long years once he transferred from Duke. — Adam Fromal, Bleacher Report 

Grade: A

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