Pistons Mailbag - May 15, 2013
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Al (Wolverine Lake, Mich.): What do you think about Andre Drummond not getting voted to the All-Rookie first team? Ripoff, right?
Langlois: I would have had him on the first team, Al, but I understand the rationale. He missed 22 games and didn’t start for a 29-win team until the last 10 games of the season. He also didn’t have a double-digit scoring average and we all know that scoring points draws more attention than any other statistical achievement. And even though the rookie teams are voted on by NBA coaches, and not the media, I also think the fact the Pistons simply got no national TV exposure didn’t help Drummond’s cause, given his scoring numbers compared to the players who were voted to the team. But if you were to ask those coaches to name five rookies they could have on their teams, I guarantee you that Drummond would make that list. High on that list. It would have been a nice reward for a very satisfying rookie season, but ultimately those things don’t mean much. Greg Monroe was a second-team pick, too, and there’s not much question he’s one of the top five players out of the 2010 draft.
Ryan (Grand Rapids, Mich.): If the Pistons are lucky enough to get Burke or Bennett in the first round, do you think they will be able to get Glen Rice Jr. in the second round?
Langlois: Probably a better chance of Rice being available at No. 38 than Burke or Bennett sliding to No. 7 if the lottery plays to form, Ryan. Rice has taken some mercurial leaps in mock drafts over the past month, but it remains to be seen if that holds. Because of his unique background – he’s coming to the draft from the D-League after having played at Georgia Tech, where he didn’t do much to identify himself as an NBA prospect – I think his draft stock could still swing more dramatically than most others. It’s harder for me to see either Burke or Bennett getting outside of the top five. But Bennett just might given the uncertainty with his recent shoulder surgery – he’ll be sidelined for four months, so he won’t be going through any individual workouts before the draft, obviously – on top of the already known concerns with asthma condition and a back injury that will be closely inspected by all lottery teams. Burke will have to hold his own in individual workouts to assuage concerns he lacks the elite explosiveness to make up for less than ideal size. If Rice shows the shooting touch his father had – Glen Rice ranks with Terry Duerod, out of Highland Park in the ’70s, as the greatest high school shooters I’ve seen in person – he will keep on rising, though.
Omar (Beirut, Lebanon): I was wondering if Phil Jackson’s advisory role is going to be limited to picking a coach or will he also be consulted about the draft? Also, can you give us a good timeline for when to expect a new coach?
Langlois: The coaching search was the impetus for adding Jackson as an advisor, Omar. As Joe Dumars said in the story we posted on Pistons.com, “Tom (Gores) and I discussed using a consultant as part of our decision-making process in our search for a head coach and we feel that Phil Jackson is a great resource to use.” Beyond that, I think it will really depend on how both sides value the experience. I’ve heard nothing but good things about how Dumars and Jackson interacted during Jackson’s time in Auburn Hills last week with both men enjoying the company and perspective of the other. But I doubt Jackson will be consulted for the draft. He has no background in personnel. As for a timeline, if they follow a similar procedure as the 2011 search after Gores bought the team, then after an initial round of interviews the field will be narrowed to a few finalists who will interview with Gores, as well. (They extended the process in 2011 with the knowledge that a lockout was likely looming, so this hire won’t play out over as many weeks.) Once that second round of interviews begins, the process probably will be over within 10 to 14 days, I would expect. So perhaps early June would be a reasonable timetable. They’ll likely want it to be finished at least a week to two weeks before the draft and surely before the July 1 opening of the free agency period.
Muka (Sydney, Australia): Assume the lottery lands us at No. 7. Come draft day and Pistons management doesn’t like what’s left on the board, can they “bring forward” their draft obligation to the Bobcats owed from the Gordon trade? Seems to me this would be the year to be out of the first round.
Langlois: They can – but not unilaterally. Charlotte and the Pistons would have to agree on any amendments to the compensation set forth as terms of last June’s trade that sent Ben Gordon to the Bobcats for Corey Maggette. Even though next year’s draft will be more top-heavy, I doubt the Pistons would want to convey the pick this season for one overriding reason: With the $25 million in cap space they figure to have this summer, on top of the internal improvement to be expected from young players like Andre Drummond and others, the Pistons expect to be picking significantly lower next year. Charlotte can see the same thing and probably would want the pick this year if it were offered.
Ronald (Birmingham, Mich.): Why have the Pistons not interviewed Jerry Sloan? With the exception of Phil Jackson, who clearly is not interested, Sloan is by far the most qualified coach – a Hall of Fame coach with a .600 winning percentage. It’s time for the Pistons to step to the plate and interview Jerry Sloan.
Langlois: Be careful about what you assume based on media reports. I don’t have any reason to believe the Pistons have interviewed Sloan, but I don’t know that they haven’t, either. As I’ve written many times in the past, there’s not a coach alive held in higher esteem by Joe Dumars than Sloan. And Dave Checketts, who served as an adviser to Tom Gores during the process of buying the Pistons (but not on the last coaching search, contrary to some reports), later said publicly that Sloan did talk to the Pistons about becoming their coach in 2011 and thought about it but declined to go further. He wasn’t ready to return to coaching at that time, he said. It would not surprise me if it is later discovered that Joe D put out a back-channel feeler to Sloan this time around, too.
Eric (Ann Arbor, Mich.): I’ve seen you name a lot of free agents we aren’t likely to land. How about some we are?
Langlois: I’d love to be able to give you some names, but it would be throwing darts at this point. I still hold that the most significant additions to the roster this summer are more likely to be added via trade. In a perfect world, that would also be the first move, to allow Joe Dumars to then fill in around the centerpiece addition(s) with the right complementary players via free agency. It might not work out that way, of course, but if it does, then it’s really impossible to predict the complementary pieces without knowledge of the primary addition(s).
Chris (Anaheim, Calif.): Do you think it’s possible to get Hubie Brown to coach? He’s a great teacher of the game and a great coach.
Langlois: Love Hubie’s insight and ability to communicate that insight, Chris. But he’ll also be 80 when next season opens and his last coaching gig ended nine years ago when he resigned a month into the season for health reasons. I doubt he’d really feel up to it at this point even if someone really wanted him.
Shawn (Washington, D.C.): I’m curious how Khris Middleton is viewed by other scouts around the NBA. Is there any buzz based on the last few games that he could be a starter in the league?
Langlois: I haven’t really had conversations with other scouts about him since Middleton moved into the rotation late in the season, Shawn. I’d guess most would say it’s too soon to say for sure, but if what we saw at the end of last season is just a jumping-off point and not the sum of what Middleton has to offer – and given the way he improved from early to late in the season, there’s no reason to believe he’s done growing yet – then I don’t think many would consign him to career backup status. Arnie Kander recently told me that Middleton has plenty of room to grow.