Pistons Mailbag - Thursday, May 26, 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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Emery (Farmington, Mich.): Is there a possibility the Pistons could sign Greg Oden as a long-term project? With microfracture surgery, it takes time to heal and the Pistons have all the time in the world to wait on Oden while they are in rebuilding mode. Arnie Kander could do for him what he did for Antonio McDyess.
Langlois: The ball is in Portlandís court, Emery. They can make Oden a restricted free agent by extending a qualifying offer to him by June 30 for $8.8 million. If the Blazers do that, thereís no way heís going anywhere in free agency. If they donít, then teams will consider their next move. When you say the Pistons have all the time in the world, I think Joe Dumars would object. To the contrary, if Oden were to become an unrestricted free agent, my guess is that the team likeliest to sign him would be a team either with the cap room to go beyond a mid-level exception (which might not even exist in a new CBA) or a contender looking to swing for the fences Ė a Boston or a Miami, for instance, that could sell Oden on not having to carry the franchise but a place where he could very well assume a significant role. (Though, again, if thereís no MLE, I donít see how Boston or Miami could get him unless Oden is willing to sign a veteranís minimum deal. And he might be, for one year, to prove himself.) As to your last point, while Iím sure Kander would give him his best chance to succeed, we canít assume Kander would offer an encouraging report to Joe Dumars on Odenís chances for a healthy future until he got a chance to review his medical history and his current status. His knee issues are different than McDyessí were.
Marcus (Birmingham, Mich.): Can you offer any insight into how teams regard Jeremy Tyler? He reportedly did well at the draft combine and has been playing overseas since his senior year of high school. I know he needs more time to develop, but it seems like a smart idea to draft him in the second round and give him a year or two in the D-League.
Langlois: Tylerís story isnít terribly dissimilar to DeAndre Jordanís. Jordan was considered a potential No. 1 overall pick before spending an unremarkable freshman year at Texas A&M and declaring for the draft, where he slid all the way to the early second round. Now heís got a future as a starting center, or at least a solid rotation big man. Tyler bypassed college altogether and, as you noted, skipped his senior year of high school. His first year, spent in Israel, was disastrous. And Tyler impressed no one last June at the Reebok Eurocamp in Italy. He spent the past season at a low-level pro league in Japan and it was in doubt up until a week ago whether he would be drafted at all. But he helped his case in Chicago and now, some believe, he could be drafted in the first round. If he is still around when the Pistons pick at 33, I suspect they would give him full consideration based on what NBA teams have learned about him recently.
Bruno (Sao Paulo, Brazil): With the possibility of Prince walking in free agency, Detroitís only small forward would be Daye. Marvin Williams has been terrible for Atlanta and didnít help during the playoffs. Charlie Villanueva hasnít done much for Detroit but he could help Atlanta as a scorer off the bench. They have basically the same contract. Should Joe D try to swap Charlie V for Williams, who would be a better fit with the Pistons?
Langlois: Itís not an unreasonable deal for either side, Bruno, and my guess is both parties wouldnít dismiss it out of hand. Itís probably something they would put on the back burner, though, and see what the draft yields and what other possibilities are out there. It probably doesnít move the needle much for either team, and itís possible they could include those players as part of a bigger package with greater potential impact than simply swap them player for player. Atlanta might be more inclined to trade Josh Smith, a higher-profile player who could yield a bigger piece in return and open the door for the Hawks to move Al Horford from center to power forward. That would also re-establish Williams as Atlantaís starter at small forward. But Charlie V does have appeal around the league, despite his up and down two years in Detroit. Big men who can shoot it like he can are rare commodities. And if Atlanta loses Jamal Crawford to free agency, a distinct possibility, then Charlie Vís scoring ability off the bench might be its best response.
George (Athens, Greece): Watching recent Dallas games, weíve seen Dirk Nowitzki have great games. Many people say he is among the greatest power forwards in history, but I believe Rasheed was a better player. What do you think about this?
Langlois: You canít come up with a handful of players in NBA history who had Rasheed Wallaceís size plus his vast array of skills Ė and not just a vast array of skills, but skills in which he ranked near the top of the charts. If you had to win one game or a playoff series, I think you could make a credible argument for Rasheed over Dirk. Where Nowitzki ultimately wins the argument, I think, is consistency and phenomenal shot-making skills. He gives you what heís got every night and heís the most versatile 7-foot scorer in NBA history. As a defender, thereís no comparison. When Rasheed was in his prime Ė when he came to the Pistons in 2004 and for the next few seasons Ė he was a dominant defensive force who was as critical to the teamís success on that end as Ben Wallace, I always believed.
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