While the absence of Jon Leuer has hurt a Pistons team desperate to regain its footing in the East, it has opened an opportunity for first-round pick Henry Ellenson to play meaningful minutes for once. This week Ellenson checked into a game in the first half for the first time this season writes Pistons.com editor Keith Langlois.
“It felt different, for sure,” the 20-year-old Pistons big man told Langlois of the matchup against the Kings. “It felt good to be out there, to be a part of the rotation. […] For me, personally, it was nice to get some of that action.”
Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy reiterated how important it will be to have Ellenson available as the team returns to health in the coming days. Leuer is expected to be sidelined for at least two more games.
“We need all hands on deck,” Van Gundy said, before clarifying that while the rookie may be relied upon more than he has been thus far, it’s unlikely he’ll see “great big minutes” for the Pistons.
Elsewhere in the Central Division:
- The Pistons haven’t played up to a standard that Van Gundy is happy with, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News, but the head coach believes that his team is capable of it. “I thought the early part of the year — probably the second 10 games or so — we got to where we were playing at a high level and we haven’t been able to gain a rhythm since then,” Van Gundy said. “This last 20 games, I haven’t done a good enough job of getting us to play at the level we’re capable of playing at“.
- The results of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s Friday MRI are in and the shooting guard suffered a Grade 2 left rotator cuff strain. The team’s official press release states that he’ll be doubtful for the Pistons through the weekend, with his status continually reevaluated and updated.
- Point guard Rajon Rondo called his punitive benching by Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg a “slap in the face,” writes Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago, but the veteran also says that the decision wasn’t unexpected.
- The Cavaliers will insert Iman Shumpert into the starting lineup in place of DeAndre Liggins, says Sam Amico of NEO Sports Insiders. Liggins and Shumpert have shared time at the position since starter J.R. Smith broke his thumb.