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Pistons News: Leuer encouraged to shoot more; Ellenson, Gbinije assigned to Drive

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Another week, another Roundup.

Detroit Pistons v Toronto Raptors Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Jon Leuer's career numbers aren't enough for Pistons' coaching staff

Despite averaging career highs in minutes (26.9), field-goal attempts (8.1), field goal and true shooting percentages (52.6% & 58.7% respectively), rebounds (6.1), blocks (1.0) and points (10.0) through the season's first seven games, Jon Leuer is still under-performing. At least that is what the Pistons' coaching staff would have you believe. Per MLive's Aaron McMann:

"I think he's played well, but I think he's passed up shots," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We want him shooting the ball when he's open, basically every time. Not forcing. Not hunting shots. But when he's open, shoot the ball. Jon's a really good player," Van Gundy said. "Jon's even a better player than Jon thinks he is. You don't say that about very many professional athletes. We're trying to encourage Jon to be more aggressive for his shot."

Leuer has on many occasions passed on an open shot, instead looking to continue the flow of the offense, and the Minnesota-native has admitted he isn't comfortable enough with Van Gundy's system to take more shots. It is easy to see why the Pistons are hopeful that their new stretch four can carry a larger offensive load.

In six seasons in the league, Jon has averaged a shooting slash of .480/.374/.722 and has always been a positive contributor on offense. Whilst those six years in the association saw Leuer playing a different role, one where he averaged five field goal attempts per 14 minutes of game time, the Pistons need him to step up more than he already has and not be afraid to let it fly. He simply has never been a go-to guy on offense, but as SVG points out to McMann, he could be.

We're not asking him to force. We're not looking for a number of shots. I just want him on every catch to get his eyes on the rim like he's shooting. That guy's a really good basketball player, and we need to get him to understand that better than we understand it."

With another 76 games on the schedule, Leuer has a lot of time to embrace his new role, but Stan and the rest of the coaching staff would be hoping Jon puts the pieces together sooner rather than later. Until then, sit back, relax, and watch the 6-10 forward continue to play his trademarked smooth brand of basketball.

With FT woes seemingly under control, consistency will affect Dre's minutes

Andre Drummond is shooting a career high from the charity stripe, as his new FT technique seems to be working wonders on the big man's issues. In the past, his freebie conversion rate had seen him glued to the pine late in games as the team looked to keep him away from the free-throw line, but now that he is shooting them at a better rate, the Pistons will look to increase his time on the floor. Whilst Van Gundy didn't point at his star center's FT numbers as the main reason behind the team's decision to increase his minutes, it is clear that less of a liability he is from the line, the more minutes he will be able to handle. However there is a simple caveat, per Hoops Rumors' Dana Gauruder:

Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy wants to increase Andre Drummond‘s workload but he’s willing to sit his All-Star center if he’s not playing well. Van Gundy said this week that he plans to rest Drummond in shorter bursts this season. “He’s capable of playing big minutes,” Van Gundy said. “We want him out there a lot. Barring foul trouble, we’re trying to get him to where his rests are shorter.”

As Gauruder points out (and Pistons fan will no doubt remember), Drummond was benched for most of the second half of the team's collapse against Brook Lopez and the Brooklyn Nets. Van Gundy's explanation of why Drummond saw limited play time after the half was, as had become expected, quite honest:

“He was just, in my opinion, bringing absolutely nothing to the game,” Van Gundy told the assembled media in his postgame press conference. “I don’t know if he was tired or what the deal was, but he didn’t bring any energy to the game.”

Accountability. SVG has never shied away from holding his players accountable, and with one of Drummond's biggest woes seemingly addressing itself, there will be more pressure on the big penguin to become consistent in all aspects of his game — something Andre admits was an issue in the game against the Nets. Per Aaron McMann:

"I wasn't myself the past two games," Drummond said. "I wasn't playing with energy and I wasn't doing the things I was supposed to do to help my team win games. Tonight was really a focus, to give everything I had."

Pistons assign rookie duo to Grand Rapids

Henry Ellenson and Michael Gbinije will see some extended minutes with Detroit's D-League affiliate Grand Rapids Drive, after the team announced the assignment on Saturday. Per the official press release:


AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – The Detroit Pistons announced today that the team has assigned forward Henry Ellenson and guard Michael Gbinije to the team’s NBA Development League (D-League) affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive.

Ellenson has appeared in two games this season averaging 1.0 points and 2.5 rebounds in 2.5 minutes per game. He was selected with the 18th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

Gbinije has appeared in one game, the season opener at Toronto, and recorded one assist in five minutes of action. He was selected with the 49th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

The Drive's season starts tomorrow against the Canton Charge, with the game expected to be available via YouTube. Joining Ellenson and Gbinije on Grand Rapids' roster are training camp and pre-season teammates Nikola Jovanovic, Trey Freeman and Ray McCallum Jr. NBA veterans Shannon Brown and Jordan Crawford are also on the roster along with several D-League prospects. The team's full roster and schedule can be seen here.

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