On Monday, I took an in-depth look at Malachi Richardson’s situation in Sacramento, and to put it bluntly, he’s not in the best position.
Let’s shift gears now to a rosier outlook, and talk about Michael Gbinije, the other Orange G selected in the draft. Gbinije was snatched sooner than expected, by a few spots at #49, but about 20-30 picks lower than he would have if he weren’t 24 years old. While he doesn’t have the upside of Richardson, or most of the first round draft picks Michael is one of the few players in this year’s class who can step right in and help an NBA team.
Thankfully, he was picked by a team that needs his electric skill set. He joins the Detroit Pistons, a young playoff team ready to move up in the Eastern Conference with a great core already in place.
Detroit has a great coach in Stan Van Gundy, a franchise center with none of the Cousins drama in Andre Drummond, talented guards in Reggie Jackson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and versatile wings in Tobias Harris, Stanley Johnson and Marcus Morris. The best part? Morris and Jackson are the elder statesmen at 26 years of age. This is a very good young team, made deeper and better by its draft.
Gbinije, and first round pick Henry Ellenson, will step right in and contribute, but won’t be asked to carry the burden. That’s the perfect scenario for any rookie. You want to be needed, but don’t want to carry the load for a crappy team. Detroit is on the rise and Michael is going to play key minutes for them. He can play with a variety of lineups at multiple positions. He obviously won’t start, but I can see him grabbing 15-20 minutes per night and making the most of them. Some nights he’ll play more than others, but he will find his niche, and that’s all the Pistons are expecting.
Obviously we need to wait and see how this all plays out, but Gbinije is in a better position to succeed, both on a personal and team level. Richardson may be the better player down the road, but Gbinije is going to have an easier and more enjoyable transition to the NBA.