Pistons Mailbag - Monday, April 25, 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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Lloyd (Clinton Twp., Mich.): There are a lot of complaints the Pistons need a big man. I see Monroe, Jonas and Wilcox as serviceable bigs. In terms of talent, the Pistons have as much as anyone in the league. Is it possible for them to get better with the current roster?
Langlois: The Pistons don’t have a certain All-Star on the roster, Lloyd, so let’s start with that: They don’t have the same talent today that they had when they were getting to six straight conference finals. There’s a reason the Celtics had four All-Stars and the Heat had three this year. But, yes, it is possible – and I’m sure Pistons management would say it’s likely – that improvement from the players already here should be the expectation. If the Pistons can come away from the lottery with one of three things – a big man who nicely complements Monroe, an athlete who either is an impact defender or a low-post scoring threat; a point guard who has the rare trait of making other players more efficient scorers; or a dominant scorer who develops into the type of player who demands late-game play calls – then I think they’ll be in position to take a major step forward. Are those types available in this draft? Perhaps in Kyrie Irving (as a point guard), Derrick Williams (as a scorer) and Jonas Valanciunas or Enes Kanter (as a complement to Monroe), but landing any one of them very likely requires a top-three pick for the Pistons.
Tiba (Detroit): I know the Pistons have a ton of guards, but with this draft being so weak what do you think about taking Alec Burks if they pick seventh? After Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams, Enes Kanter and Brandon Knight, I think he is the last player with star potential.
Langlois: Seven is probably a little high for Burks, Tiba, but it’s not out of the question. I think he’s been a little underrated all year. When you say he has star potential, I think you’re right – but I’m underscoring “potential.” One scout I talked with this season said he reminded him of Brandon Roy. If he can match Roy’s NBA career, any team would consider Burks with a top-three pick.
John (Lake Orion, Mich.): How can the Pistons do what the Atlanta Hawks did and build slowly around good young talent? I have lost hope in free agency and think we need to build over time. Do you see any similarities between the Hawks of three and four years ago and the Pistons today?
Langlois: The Hawks got the top pick in the lottery one year and the No. 3 pick another, John. Al Horford is an All-Star. Josh Smith was the 17th pick out of high school in 2004, one year before the NBA changed the CBA and required high school players to attend college for at least one year. They also have a dominant scorer, Joe Johnson. That’s the guts of their rebuilding. The Pistons have Greg Monroe, who could rise to Horford’s level of productivity in another year or two, and that would be a great start. Young players like Jonas Jerebko and Austin Daye conceivably could contribute on par with Smith and Marvin Williams. That would leave the Pistons to find their Joe Johnson. Can Ben Gordon get it turned back around and be the player he was for five years in Chicago? If the answer is yes, then the Pistons will be one big step closer to challenging for a playoff spot next season.
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