Pistons Mailbag - October 23, 2013
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Roll damn tide (@inspct0rb4c0n1): With his play on Sunday did Siva earn a roster spot or is he headed to the D-League?
Langlois: Those two things aren’t mutually exclusive. Siva’s already earned his roster spot when he signed a guaranteed contract. That doesn’t mean the Pistons can’t send him to the D-League – for a little while, for a long while, or for multiple visits. Even if he’s playing in Fort Wayne, while he’s under contract to the Pistons he counts against the 15-man roster limit and the salary cap. The Pistons have many veterans who’ve spent the majority of their careers at point guard – Chauncey Billups, Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum and presumed starter Brandon Jennings – so it’s going to be difficult, given good health, for Siva to crack the playing rotation this season or to even be in uniform as one of the 13 active players on game nights. But good health is never a given, as the preseason already has reminded Pistons fans. And Siva, as he reinforced on Sunday with a gritty 47 minutes logged, is going to play fearlessly and with full effort whenever he’s called upon.
Jake (@JRobinson_11): Thinking about a possible trade for Jimmer Fredette. Even if it won’t happen, is it a good idea? Maybe for Bynum and Villanueva?
Langlois: Doesn’t come close to passing CBA parameters, Jake, because the contracts going out are worth more than $11 million and Fredette makes less than $2.5 million. You’d have to be a big believer in Fredette’s upside to part with two players who’ve been valuable rotation parts, especially given the role Bynum could have this season. Fredette’s 24 and has yet to establish himself as an everyday player. I think he’ll have a place in the NBA for many more years because of his 3-point shooting threat in a league where that’s ever more valuable. But there are acknowledged major holes in his game that make him a luxury not every team can afford to carry. If Jennings is going to be the Pistons’ point guard of the future, I’m not sure if Fredette is the right complementary piece.
Mike (Canton, Mich.): If the Pistons decide not to give Monroe his extension, do you see the Pistons trading Monroe and moving Smith to the four if they aren’t where they want to be by the trade deadline? How about if the Pistons were on the right track? Would extending Monroe put the Pistons in a financial hole considering Drummond’s contract will also be extended more than likely down the line?
Langlois: Drummond’s extension, assuming he agrees to one, would not kick in until after his fourth season, so we’re a long way out from needing to wonder about moves the Pistons must consider or make to accommodate a big pay increase for him. As for the Monroe situation, let’s clarify your question just a little. All indications are that the decision to not pursue an extension has come from Monroe’s agent, David Falk, who has said publicly that his general preference is to take a player into free agency. When you ask what the Pistons will do at the trade deadline, that assumes evidence not yet known. The Pistons will have had more than 50 games at that point to determine what they have and how their pieces fit. They’ll want to see how Monroe adapts to a broader role required by playing both power forward and center, how Andre Drummond handles his increased responsibility and how the three frontcourt players mesh. Underlying any contemplation of the merits of trading away a player of Monroe’s stature – a 23-year-old who’s already displayed a consistency of production and the potential for improvement – is the understanding of how highly Pistons management values him. It doesn’t mean they wouldn’t consider trading him, but it’s highly unlikely they would trade him for anything less than an acknowledged star they felt would offer a more complementary fit. And that type of player isn’t often available. It’s nearly certain he’s not available now. What happens by mid-February is anyone’s guess. Until then, I abide by the motto that it’s foolish to make decisions until all the evidence is in and a decision must be made.
Michael (@PistonsUpNorth): If the Pistons’ frontcourt does not mesh, what about offering Monroe to the Warriors for Barnes? Could be a good move for both teams.
Langlois: The frontcourt has played one game with Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Jennings available, and that was against a non-NBA team. They’ve played three with Chauncey Billups and Josh Smith didn’t play in one of those. Really tough to come to even preliminary conclusions about anything at this point.
Zachh (@zwishywashy1039): I haven’t been able to watch any of the games but I see in the stats that we are getting outrebounded and turning the ball over too much.
Langlois: I wouldn’t get bent out of shape about the turnovers. The Pistons haven’t had their full complement of guards for any game and haven’t had Brandon Jennings and Rodney Stuckey since the preseason opener. Yes, in that game they committed 24 turnovers, but (1) it was the preseason opener, c’mon; and (2) it was against Miami, which is the best in the league at creating turnovers. Is it possible this team will commit too many turnovers? I suppose. But Jennings, Stuckey and Billups have never been turnover-prone players, so it would be very unlikely that it would become a team problem. As for rebounding, the Pistons hold a 259-233 edge going into Thursday’s preseason finale in their six games against NBA teams. They were outrebounded by both Chicago (49-44) and Cleveland (48-37) and narrowly (43-39) in Tuesday’s win over Washington. The first two are two very good rebounding teams and it’s a small sample size. Too small to draw any conclusions. Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith have all been very good rebounders and they’re going to play the majority of frontcourt minutes. Of the potential issues that could undermine the Pistons’ chances for success, turnovers and rebounding probably aren’t very high on the list.
Tiba (Detroit): How serious do you think the Pistons are about playing Singler at shooting guard when everyone is healthy? I hope not very. His size is getting him in foul trouble on defense. I like Singler, but would rather him come off the bench at small forward.
Langlois: It depends on several factors, not much to do with Singler and more to do with others. When everyone is healthy – whenever that might be, and for however long – I would expect Singler to play more of his minutes at small forward. If Gigi Datome doesn’t find a way to get in the rotation – and missing the preseason might close the door on any real chance he has of doing so until something outside his control opens a door for him – then that makes it more likely Singler is, by and large, exclusively a small forward on nights Cheeks has all of his gaurds available to him. But if Chauncey Billups is out or needs a night off, Singler probably will wind up playing some minutes there, at least until Kentavious Caldwell-Pope earns an everyday role. As for Singler’s foul trouble, I don’t think it’s come because of his half-court defense against shooting guards. He’s picked up a bunch in transition when he’s been outnumbered. He’s also picked up more than a few offensive fouls so far.
Jason (Chicago): With the possibility (or likelihood) of two backcourt players who usually play or are more comfortable at point guard being on the floor at the same time for the Pistons this year (Billups, Jennings, Bynum, Siva, and considering Caldwell-Pope is still a rookie and Stuckey broke his hand), can you make any predictions with how the Pistons will play this season? Are there many advantages/disadvantages to having this setup as opposed to a traditional two guard being in the mix?
Langlois: If you can defend at an adequate or better level with two guards on the floor capable of running the offense efficiently and making plays, then there really isn’t any downside to it. I think Mo Cheeks and Joe Dumars are of one mind on that score. They both played in an era where it wasn’t unusual for both guards to be entrusted with playmaking duties. Isiah Thomas was one of the greatest point guards of all time, but there were times Chuck Daly liked to put the ball in the hands of Dumars, or even Vinnie Johnson, and let Isiah play off the ball. There’s a lot of stress in having the ball in your hands for every possession. In the limited exposure we’ve had to Cheeks’ offense when he’s had a full stable of guards – and mostly that happened when media was allowed to view the last 20 to 30 minutes of training camp scrimmages – it was clear that there was widespread sharing of backcourt duties. And everything Cheeks has said – and everything the principals involved have said – since then has reinforced the notion that all of the guards, Caldwell-Pope aside, will have the ball in their hands and get their crack at running the team.
Ethan (Damascus, Va.): Let’s say you were given the keys to the city and you decide you want to make a trade. Who from the Pistons do you send and where? LeBron, Rose, Melo, et al are out of the question, but there are a lot of All-Stars that could be picked up for the right price. Give me your top potentials.
Langlois: Not going to bite on that one Ethan. The Pistons added eight new players over the summer and at least three of them – Josh Smith, Brandon Jennings and Chauncey Billups – are ticketed for major roles. Gigi Datome and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope have legitimate chances to crack the rotation, as well. Unless a no-brainer trade falls in their laps, I have to believe that Joe Dumars really wants to study the team for the first half of the season and see what he has. Once strengths and weaknesses are assessed, then needs can be identified and addressed. Nice try, though.
Jesse (@jgk381): Josh Harrellson deserves a shot at the fourth big man role. Jonas Jerebko and Charlie Villanueva haven’t been good and he gives you their shooting and hustle all in one.
Langlois: Maurice Cheeks has been pretty insistent – as recently as after Tuesday’s win over Washington, when I asked if Tony Mitchell, after a strong showing, had a realistic shot of contending for rotation minutes – that nobody can be counted out. Harrellson has a unique combination of shooting range and strength that give him a shot. We’ll see.
Kevin (Troy, Mich.): I feel Tony Mitchell has had an extremely solid preseason after being considered a gamble as a second-round pick. The only people who seem to have noticed are Pistons staff and Pistons beat writers. If Charlie Villanueva continues his struggles and if Jonas Jerebko remains inconsistent, do you think Mitchell could possibly get some minutes during the regular season?
Langlois: Not out of the question, Kevin. He’s raw and the Pistons have plenty of other options up front. It comes down to getting a chance and then making more high-impact plays by employing his rare athleticism than costing his team with rookie gaffes. I asked Mo Cheeks the same question after Mitchell’s impressive game Tuesday night and he said, essentially, everybody has a shot to get minutes and it could vary from game to game.