Pistons Mailbag - Monday, April 11, 2011 - Page 3
Pistons.com editor Keith Langlois answers your questions about the Pistons and NBA. Click here to submit your questions - please include your name, email address and city/state on the form. Return to the Mailbag homepage.
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Stefan (Tokyo, Japan): I am still interested in Hassan Whiteside of the Kings. Do the Pistons have anything Sacramento would be interested in to acquire Whiteside?
Langlois: Whiteside played two minutes all season, Stefan, so the questions that existed about him going into last Juneís draft are all still out there. Until individual workouts started, he was considered a potential top-10 pick and he wound up sinking to the second round. In interviews, he struck people as earnest but immature. Coupled with his raw physical tools, he represented a risk. I donít know what Sacramento has learned about him this season, watching him practice and work on his game and his body, but if the Kings are talking about him in trade Ė in a one-on-one deal, as opposed to being a throw-in to sweeten a much larger deal Ė than I suspect it would be another red flag to the team at the other end of the line. The Kings had to know he was a project last June. If they were willing to cut ties one year into the project, what would that say?
Patrick (Vancouver, British Columbia): If we donít get the top pick, I hope Joe doesnít hesitate getting one of the European bigs because of the Darko incident. But then, both Kanter and Valanciunas remind me of Kosta Koufos and Milicic. Iím not sure if this is the best draft for internationals, but surely theyíve been overhyped lately.
Langlois: The way teams evaluate international prospects has evolved over the past 15 years or so, Patrick. After the success of Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol, there was a belief that European big men were perhaps better prepared for NBA success because of the way they were taught the game from the earliest stages. Then after some notorious flops Ė and Darkoís plight is a part of that history, though it bears repeating that there isnít a team in the NBA that can credibly claim it wouldnít have taken him with the No. 2 pick that June Ė teams began to be more wary. Instead of drafting on potential alone, they wanted to see some evidence of production in Europeís top leagues. But thatís a delicate balance, because even the most talented 18-year-old big men have a tough time getting significant playing time in Europeís top leagues, as opposed to American 18-year-olds working their way immediately into college starting lineups. Kanter is a special case Ė a young player who has very little track record due to being made ineligible by the NCAA. Teams are largely basing his draft projection on Kanter winning his head-to-head matchup with Jared Sullinger in last Aprilís Nike Hoop Summit. Valanciunas has more of a body of work. I canít see either one getting out of the top 10 this June and would be surprised if either fell to the Pistons, assuming the Pistons donít draw into the top three.
Romeo (La Jolla, Calif.): Will Ben Wallace retire after the season?
Langlois: Itís a possibility, just as it was the last two summers. Wallace has indicated heíll follow the same path Ė give his body a brief rest to rejuvenate, then get back in the gym and see what it tells him.
Anderson (Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago): The Pistons need a point guard. If we draft Jonas Valanciunas or Enes Kanter in the first round, what about taking a point guard like Jacob Pullen or Kalin Lucas in the second round?
Langlois: Names aside, I think itís pretty unrealistic to believe the Pistons are going to land a point guard in the second round that is going to come in and perform well enough to make an impact as a rookie. Itís not considered a good year for point guards, Anderson. The ones who can play are going to be scrutinized heavily and snapped up pretty quickly. Iím not sure there will be great value in point guards at that point in this draft. Then again, you never know. And the Pistons will be picking either third or fourth in the second round with Torontoís pick.
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