WATCH: Pistons Introduce Ellenson & Gbinije

- Team executives talk all the time about how shocked they are that somebody fell to them in the draft.

Detroit's Stan Van Gundy sounded like he meant it after the Pistons landed Henry Ellenson with the 18th pick Thursday night.

"He was a guy we had as, basically, no chance to get to 18. So we didn't bring him in here for a workout. We loved him, everything we had seen," Van Gundy said. "He was a guy that we just didn't think we had any shot at."

Ellenson averaged 17 points and 9.7 rebounds last season as a freshman at Marquette. He also led the team with 49 blocked shots.

Van Gundy's satisfaction was obvious moments after the Pistons made the pick.

"He was 10th on our board," said Van Gundy, who is Detroit's coach and team president. "When you're picking 18 and you get 10 — we were pretty good with three picks to go. I told (owner) Tom Gores, 'We're going to get 10, 11 or 12 on our board.'"

In the second round, the Pistons took guard Michael Gbinije of Syracuse with the 49th pick.

The 6-foot-11 Ellenson set school records for scoring and rebounding for a freshman. Although he is big enough to play around the basket, Ellenson can also run the floor and make jumpers. However, he shot only 29 percent from 3-point range in 2015-16.

Detroit went 44-38 last season, making the playoffs for the first time since 2009. The Pistons were swept in the first round by Cleveland.

The Pistons have built around star center Andre Drummond, and Ellenson could add some more scoring punch inside.

"I think I can fit in and be a stretch four for them," Ellenson said. "I think Andre Drummond down low is really effective, and I play with centers. So I think I can be a guy who adds a whole 'nother side of versatility there, being able to make plays in the four spot."

Van Gundy said the Pistons won't rush Ellenson if he needs time to develop, but Detroit's starting forwards, Tobias Harris and Marcus Morris, are both 6-foot-9, so Ellenson gives the Pistons more size alongside Drummond.

"We needed to get a little bigger up front, particularly at the four spot," Van Gundy said. "He can play the four and the five, we think. Really knows how to play basketball, great instincts, can handle the ball for a big, really faces up, shoots it, puts it on the floor, can pass the ball. Tough guy, rebounds it."

Ellenson, the Big East's freshman of the year, said he was becoming uneasy Thursday night as time passed and he hadn't been picked yet. But once the Pistons drafted him, his outlook brightened.

"Since I heard my name called, it just makes the whole night great," he said. "It's something I've waited my whole life now, and now I have a chance."

Detroit also could use more depth at point guard, but Vanderbilt's Wade Baldwin went to Memphis, one pick ahead of the Pistons. Detroit wasn't going to go out of its way to draft a backup point guard. In the second round, the Pistons took Gbinije, a versatile 6-foot-7 player who could eventually help the backcourt in a variety of ways.

"He's more of a combo guard," assistant general manager Brian Wright said. "He can play a little one, can play a little two. Very long, great basketball instincts, good defensively."

Gbinije averaged 17.5 points per game last season for a Syracuse team that went to the Final Four. He played at Duke as a freshman in 2011-12 before heading to Syracuse for his final three college seasons.

 

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