Anyone itching to see Luke Kennard and Henry Ellenson on the court got their wish Sunday as both suited up for the Grand Rapids Drive. Anyone worried about the development of the two sparsely used players could breathe a little sigh of relief as the two were the best players on the court, leading the Drive’s 112-106 win.
Ellenson scored 28 points and sank five 3-pointers to go with nine rebounds. Kennard, meanwhile, notched 26 points, four steals and three assists.
.@DetroitPistons assignee @HenryEllenson13 had a solid 28 points (5-of-10 from 3) and 9 rebounds in today's win! #WeAreGR pic.twitter.com/nqkbctWdJO— Grand Rapids Drive (@grdrive) November 5, 2017
With no games until Wednesday against the Indiana Pacers, the Detroit Pistons sent rookie Kennard and second-year pro Ellenson to their G League affiliate so they could get serious minutes in real game action.
It was obivous they weren’t super familar with their new teammates, and vice versa. For most of the game Ellenson and Kennard played a two-man pick-and-roll game together and dish to teammates when nothing developed.
The Drive’s leading scorer going into the contest against the Raptors 905, Dwight Buycks, took a back seat for most of the game, deferring to Ellenson and Kennard. Ellenson spent most of the evening pick-and-popping and finding seams in the defense on the perimeter. He would occasionally try and back down his man but he didn’t have much success.
Kennard, meanwhile, displayed some very good instincts as a ball handler and a pretty tight dribble. He wasn’t much of a facilitator, but he was able to make defenders pay for over-pursuing by driving into the lane and finding an easy mid-range opportunity.
#12 overall @NBADraft pick & @DetroitPistons assignee @LukeKennard5 dropped 26 PTS (7-13 FG) in the @grdrive W today! pic.twitter.com/8oRCwhf5DN— NBA G League (@nbagleague) November 5, 2017
While I tuned into the game to see the Pistons’ draft picks perform, I actually came away most impressed with Luis Montero who the Pistons signed to a two-way contract. He was 8-of-11 from the field and played really solid defense on the perimeter and especially in transition.
There was a lot of sloppy play and careless turnovers on both sides, but Montero recovered nicely and disrupted some fastbreak opportunities. He also hit 3-of-5 from distance. Might be worth keeping an eye on the 24-year-old as a back-end 3-and-D type player.
Also, I must say that the Facebook Live feed worked flawlessly even when I Chromcasted the feed to my TV. A much improved viewing experience compared to last year on YouTube. If you’re ever hard up for some competitive basketball I would suggest giving the Drive’s game a go.