Pistons Mailbag - Monday, May 16, 2011 - Page 2
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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Marvin (Richmond, Va.): I don’t believe you can pass up great talent. If Valanciunas is there at No. 7 with buyout issues, why not take him and then take Benson at 33? That way, Benson could be contributing now while the Pistons wait a year or two on Valanciunas. Whenever he comes, we’ll need him.
Langlois: That’s certainly one option, Marvin – secure Valanciunas’ rights and hope for the best regarding his NBA timetable. But even if it’s going without him for only one year, in the event his buyout for next season would prove too rich, then you have to strongly believe that (a) he’s capable of playing at an All-Star level at some point and (b) nobody else available at that pick is. I certainly am not ruling out Valanciunas as an option for the Pistons if they land the No. 7 pick. In fact, we’ll start out NBA draft preview series soon and Valanciunas is guaranteed to be one of the players we profile if the Pistons stay at seven. But I would be at least mildly surprised, at this point, if they pick him unless they’re reasonably comfortable he’ll be available to play next season. As for Benson’s chances to crack somebody’s rotation next season, I don’t have a handle on that. As skilled and athletic as Benson appears, his lack of bulk will create adjustment challenges for him.
Rafer (Baltimore): Do you think the Pistons would be interested in Josh Selby with the No. 33 pick?
Langlois: Sure they would. But he’s not going to be there. That will come as a shock only to those who watched Kansas last winter and didn’t see Selby get off the bench very much as the season wound down. He missed the first nine games due to an NCAA suspension, then hurt his ankle midway through the season. By the time he came back, Kansas had a set rotation and little confidence in a player who didn’t seem to fit the system. But let’s remember that a year ago at this time, the folks who make their living evaluating high school prospects were evenly divided on who was the best player among Kyrie Irving, Brandon Knight and Selby. Irving is now projected to go No. 1 and Knight likely will be a top-10 pick, perhaps a top-five pick. If Selby does well in individual workouts and at next week’s Chicago draft combine, he could solidify himself as a first-rounder with a shot to go in the lottery.
Conrad (New York City): Chad Ford of ESPN.com has the Pistons picking Tristan Thompson in his mock draft. I see similarities between Thompson and Maxiell, though. Both are poor foul shooters, undersized, energy guys who are limited offensively. I think Biyombo’s game is similar to Thompson’s, but Biyombo is longer and taller, more athletic and has the potential to become a defensive star. Who do you prefer? Why do you think Ford might prefer Thompson to Biyombo?
Langlois: Ford’s first mock draft – as opposed to the ESPN.com draft lottery machine – has the Pistons taking Biyombo and Thompson going 10th to Milwaukee. It makes for good conversation, but it’s meaningless at this point. I can guarantee you the Pistons are not at that point in the process yet. Those two players will be among a few handfuls of players they will be scrutinizing over the next month leading to the June 23 draft. By the way, I’m not sure just how much longer Biyombo is than Thompson. We’ll see what Thompson’s measurables are later this week when the Chicago draft combine numbers come out. I think there’s a chance he will measure taller than his Texas listed height of 6-foot-8. Thompson is someone whose draft stock could start to rise as the process plays out.
Glenn (Cavite City, Philippines): If the Pistons fall to the No. 10 pick, would you take the risk and draft Jimmer Fredette?
Langlois: Well, let’s start with the stats: There is a 0.0004 percent chance that three teams behind the Pistons draw into the top three spots – and that’s the only way they fall to 10th. But let’s play along. I still would be surprised if Fredette enters the conversation in a serious way for the Pistons. Not that I think drafting him 10th would be outlandish, necessarily. It’s just that the strength of the draft still be in big men. At least one from among the group we’re talking about as in the mix at No. 7 – Tristan Thompson, Bismack Biyombo, Marcus Morris, et al – is likely to be on the board at 10. The guy I’d add to the discussion if the Pistons fell down a spot or two wouldn’t be Fredette, it would be Kenneth Faried.
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