Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Tornike Shengelia


  • Measurables: 6-foot-9, 220 pounds, 21-year-old F from Georgia (the country not the college)
  • Key Stats: 7.6 points, 3.8 rebounds per game, 47 percent from the field and 31 percent from 3-point range in Belgian League
  • Projected: Second round

Why I’m intrigued by this guy

I’ve mentioned it several times, but I think it’s a possibility the Pistons will look hard at an international with one of their second round picks, considering their roster is nearly full and it might be worth it for them to stash a prospect overseas for a year or so while they deal with maneuvering out of a few of their cumbersome contracts.

Pros for the Pistons

Obviously, I haven’t watched any games featuring Shengelia. But from scouting reports and highlight clips, he’s long, fairly athletic and seems to like to hang out around the basket. Scouts rave about his aggressiveness and long arms, and he’s still young enough to get significantly better.

Cons for the Pistons

He probably isn’t a player who could help Detroit immediately and, like many young bigs, could stand to get stronger if he’s going to be a full-time rotation player in a NBA frontcourt. Some scouts have called him a ‘tweener’ forward, so his suspect jumper could be a problem.

What others are saying

Chad Ford:

Long, active forward who plays hard and has solid athleticism for a European prospect. He’s a very good rebounder, but isn’t a great offensive player at the moment. He averaged a very solid 8.3 ppg in the Euroleague this year. A potential second round prospect.


Shengelia’s propensity for attacking defenses can get him in trouble at times, as occasionally he’ll look out of control running into brick walls and turning the ball over. He’s a somewhat of a bull in a china shop, so learning how to harness this energy is something that will benefit him as he gains experience.

The biggest question marks surrounding Shengelia’s offensive game revolves around his jumper, which remains streaky. He’s converted 10 of the 41 jump-shots he’s taken this season thus far, being exclusively a catch and shoot threat.

Defensively, Shengelia is mostly a mixed bag at this point, and may be considered a tweener by some. Considered a potential small forward earlier in his career, he lacks the lateral quickness to guard most perimeter players, but is also not overly effective inside the paint either. Euroleague teams have gone at him pretty regularly this season, and he’s been backed down fairly easily inside the paint, shown questionable awareness and been fairly foul prone.

What is the best thing Tornike Shengelia does for his team?

Sam Meyerkopf (follow him on Twitter) is the co-creator of Euroleague Adventures:

Forget stretch, Shengelia is about the slash. At 6’9” and a little bit slender you start thinking he’s a small forward, but with how he plays, he slides in better to the power spot. This might place him into the dreaded “tweener” category but don’t be so quick to label Toko Shengelia.

As a slashing four, the best thing the native Georgian does for his team is attack the basket fearlessly. He pretends the hoop is food and he’s always hungry. Shengelia has three ways he assaults the rim. Off of post ups, swift off ball cuts to the free throw area looking for entry passes, and taking defenders off the dribble from the wing. On the block he has a quick spin move he uses to catch his post defender off guard. Off of perimeter passes he works a lot in isolation, taking direct drives off just a couple dribbles. He’ll make opposing power forwards uncomfortable guarding him off the bounce with deceptively good ball handling for his size. He’s a quick mismatch at the four and even if he misses three straight at the rim, he’ll keep on attacking.

Off the bench Shengelia will provide his team with a guy who won’t give the defense a break and give your offense an interesting wrinkle. If he can get a little trickier and develop more moves heading to the rim, he’ll cut out the blocks, strips, and charges he occasionally garners as a young guy playing in the Euroleague and Belgian League. On defense he uses that aggressive play to his advantage as a rebounder instead of a scorer. He might not bring every skill to the table but Shengelia will always be relentless going to the cup.



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