Waaay too in depth Henry Ellenson season preview.

This is the 14th season preview for the Pistons! Just the other rookie to go after this one.



There are no NBA stats or shot chart for Henry lol.



Where he stands now:

Henry was the 18th overall pick in the NBA draft this year, as a bit of a surprise to still be there, SVG admitted that he didn't even watch any film on Ellenson because the Pistons were so sure he would be gone. He is 19 and will turn 20 this season.


What to generally expect from him this year:

Ellenson is rather burried in the depth chart. He is the 4th guy in line at center behind Andre, Baynes, and Boban. At PF he is technically 3rd behind Tobias and Leuer, but he is really 4th there too since if either Leuer or Tobias were to get hurt it would mean more minutes for Morris at the 4 spot. As such there is not a lot of hope that Ellenson will see the floor much this year, and will likely spend at least some time in Grand Rapids (plz) which is ok, they can let him develop without needing him to provide major minutes.



Ellenson is theoretically a typical stretch 4. He is a big white guy who can shoot the ball, HOWEVA, it did not take long to realize that he is actually a lot more than that. Although in summer league and preseason he did show a good stroke and hit 3s at a nice clip. His ability to put the ball on the floor at his size is really impressive, and is actually probably his best skill as of now. He can legit put it on the floor, and even has a nice cross over. In today's NBA most bigs are at least somewhat accomstomed to chasing guys around the perimeter, but there is no way to get big galutes ready to guard a guy who can really put it on the floor.

When Ellenson does see the floor (with the Pistons or the Drive) it will be interesting to see how he shoots from deep, after not being a terribly effective or high volume 3 point shooter in college, it will also be interesting to see where the Pistons use him the most, whether it is at center or at the 4 spot because he can play both in theory. Essentially this year is all about progress, he will certainly not be in the regular rotation, but when he does see time just look for him to be in control and be capable.



Ellenson was a bad defender in college, and he is just 19 without a ton of the prototypical tools you need to be good at defense. He didn't look totally lost in the preseason, but he still looked quite bad. The defensive end of the floor is likely to have a much larger role in how much playing time Ellenson receives, because his offensive skill set is already a unique enough one to justify getting a few minutes, SVG has said as much. It is on the defensive end that he has to get to the point where he is not awful in order to see the floor.

Ellenson has already shown a decent grasp of the defense, once again SVG has said this, the problem is not making the right plays, it is making the right plays at the speed he needs to as well as being able to execute once he is in place. Right now he does not look really capable of hanging with guards, or banging with big and physical guys down low. On the plus side though, Ellenson is legitimately a big guy even by NBA standards, and has a frame that should be able to handle a lot more muscle than he currently carries. A year of NBA strength coaching should do some wonders for him, and as such he should in theory become a decent deterrent just because of his size, and there are plenty of guys that have become decent defenders by just being big and smart.



SVG and other coaches have raved about the effort he puts in and that he is very coachable. Judging by players snap chats and other videos also would suggest that he is fairly well liked by his teammates already so that is good. I don't see any problems.


So in conclusion...


Wink knowingly at your friends if:

  • Ellenson is shooting over 35% from 3 in both NBA and D-League.

  • He occasionally looks competent on defense.

  • He is making fools of opposing bigs with his ball handling.


Run for the hills if:

  • He has to play major minutes this year due to injuries.

  • He is bricking tons of 3s.

  • The Pistons don't send him to the Drive but he is never playing with the Pistons either.


Opportunities for me to look stupid:

  • Ellenson gets a few non-garbage time cameos this year.

  • He has at least one extended stretch in Grand Rapids.

  • He shoots 36% from 3 combining NBA and D-League.


What do you think? Will he ever see the floor? Would you rather him be on the bench or the D-League?


Programming note:

I've started a daily NBA podcast for fadeaway world. If you want to get your non-Pistons NBA fix from me, you can listen to that.

Joseph Sinke