When the Warriors signed Michael Gbinije and Georges Niang this summer, few thought they would ever make the team’s opening roster. JaVale McGee resigning with the Warriors in late-July essentially locked in the recipients of the final fifteen roster spots.
Both Gbinije and Niang played sparingly during the preseason, but were at least able to stay on the roster until the very last game. They’ll likely be heading to Santa Cruz to play for the Warriors’ G-League affiliate. Chris Boucher, who was signed to a two-way contract this summer, technically has the “sixteenth” roster spot, but due to the rules governing his contract, he will likely spend most of his time in the G-League as well.
Michael Gbinije was drafted with the 49th pick of the 2016 draft by the Detroit Pistons. After playing mostly in the G-League his rookie year, he was cut and signed with the Warriors. For Santa Cruz, his size and versatility as a wing will be an asset, but at age 25, his shot at an NBA career is becoming slim.
Georges Niang was drafted exactly one spot after Gbinije in the 2016 draft by the Indiana Pacers. He too played mostly in the G-League last year, and was cut at the end of the season. On the small side for a power forward, Niang can score in a variety of ways, even from outside. However, his lack of athleticism and poor rebounding make him a tough fit for an NBA team.
Life as a fringe NBA player is scary. Fighting for chances to play on the highest stage is exhausting, and most don’t stay there for long. We wish the best for Michael Gbinije and Georges Niang.