Detroit Pistons: It’s time to play Henry or free Henry

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 18: Henry Ellenson
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 18: Henry Ellenson /

Henry Ellenson seems to be the last player on the bench for the Detroit Pistons. I think it’s time that they either start playing him or trade him.

The Detroit Pistons have been bitten by the injury bug consistently. Even though half the team is immobilized, something hasn’t changed – Henry Ellenson is still racking up DNPs. And I think that the Pistons either need to start playing him or trade him while he still has some value.

Play Him

Ellenson definitely has NBA skill. He was balling in Summer League, which is just Summer League, but that shows he has the ability to play. And I don’t think he can be a full-time center, but he should at least be a solid option when teams go smaller.

For instance, when Kelly Olynyk was going ham against the Pistons the other night, a player like Ellenson may have been the answer. He wouldn’t always be the answer, but he’s at least a spark. And at the least, that actual game time would definitely shoot his confidence up.

Ellenson is still young, just turning 21 this past week, and he’s definitely still unproven. I thought for sure the loss of Jon Leuer would bode well for Ellenson, but instead, it just turned Anthony Tolliver into a hero again. When Leuer went down, I really thought that Ellenson was going to be able to fill that role. But honestly, he hasn’t even had a real chance to do that.

I’m no expert on rookies, but I can’t remember one that just magically got great without ever getting playing time. Undrafted rookies make it in the NBA pretty often. Most of the time it’s because they get thrown into the fire and thrive.

I’m not calling Ellenson a bust, but he’s very close to becoming one just because he can’t crack the rotation.

Trade Him

I don’t completely agree with this route. But at the same time, I think this is the more likely scenario. As I mentioned before, Ellenson is only 21, so he still has time to develop into a full-on NBA player.

And that’s exactly what Stan Van Gundy should be saying to other teams. Ellenson isn’t a damaged good, he just might need a change of scenery. Players that end up in the doghouse (or just deep on the bench) end up becoming contributors on other teams all the time. And I’m all for seeing more great players in the NBA because a league of stars would be a lot better than a league of me out there.

Who would actually bite on Ellenson though? I doubt anybody for him just straight up. But in a packaged deal he would be worthy. He’s a young player, on a rookie contract, that at the least has size. And if there’s one thing I do know, it’s that you can’t teach size.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Ellenson in the coming weeks. I would love to see him ball out for the Pistons, I just don’t know if that’s even a realistic thought anymore.