Quote by Nba preview – rookie & sophomore (Central)
Sophomore: Stanley Johnson, Darrun Hilliard, Boban Marjanovic
Rookie: Michael Gbinije, Henry Ellenson
Stanley Johnson‘s season was in line with what was expected of him. He flashed his potential on occasions, especially early on, he stayed engaged and committed on the defensive end, where he showed some growth as the season went on, and not much else. His season averages do not tell much, although he boasted he was the best rookie in his draft class and he tried to taunt LeBron James in the playoff. If anything, it proved that he is not scared of anything and that he has all the physical tools to be an elite defender in the league. With one season under his belt, his game should be much more effective on both sides of the floor.
Boban Marjanovic signed with the Pistons for 3 years and 21M. He will come off the bench behind Andre Drummond and will be the terror of every second unit he will face. One under-the-radar reason he was signed is to counter the hack-a tactic that is often employed against Drummond. Marjanovic is a 76.3% free-throw shooter, subbing him in would allow the Pistons to stay big with a 7-3 center while having five reliable free-throw shooters in the game. It would be better to keep the more talented Drummond on the floor, but the Serbian can be effective in short stretches. As for Darrun Hilliard, he will be out indefinitely with a lower back stress fracture.
Henry Ellenson was selected last June to grow into a stretch-four role, but it seems he is ahead of the curve already. Every scouting report saw Ellenson as too slow to guard modern power forwards and lacking any rim protection to play as the nominal center. He seemed he was in for a long rookie season when he went to Detroit and coach Stan Van Gundy, whose teams always had a strong defensive mentality. But in the few weeks of training camp, his coach said that “he is a good basketball player”, that “he’s got a chance to be really, really special” and that “[Van Gundy] wouldn’t have a problem putting him on the floor right now”. Well, it is hard to make an early evaluation during Summer League, but he did really well:
Michael Gbinije is off three good years in Syracuse and the Houston Final Four. He was the 49th pick last June and signed a 3-year contract that will pay him 2.5M, although only the first year is guaranteed. It will be hard for him to get playing time, but Reggie Jackson will be out for 6-8 weeks, leaving the guard rotation up in the air.