Pistons Mailbag - Tuesday, May 31, 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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Michael (Huntersville, N.C.): The Pistons should trade either Rodney Stuckey or Ben Gordon for James Harden of Oklahoma City because he has shown me he could be a starter on most teams.
Langlois: Oklahoma City expects that team to be theirs – next season. The Thunder obviously believe big in Harden’s future, Michael. Sam Presti drafted him No. 3 in 2009, ahead of players like Tyreke Evans and Stephen Curry, and he gave broad glimpses of how much he can mean to that offense throughout the playoffs. He’s 21 – even though he looks 35 – and still on his rookie contract. Stuckey is very similar in style to OKC’s own point guard, Russell Westbrook, while Harden has shown – with uncanny playmaking skills – that he can be an ideal complement to Westbrook. It’s a stretch to say Harden is untouchable, but he’s definitely considered one of the core pieces of a young team with a very bright future.
Kumayl (Detroit): I think Kenneth Faried would be a perfect fit next to Greg Monroe and Jonas Jerebko. What do you think?
Langlois: Faried is a tough evaluation, Kumayl. On the one hand, he was the most prolific rebounder in college basketball history and scouts consistently say that rebounding is the one skill that most reliably translates from college basketball to the NBA. On the other, his production came at the mid-major level – though he had some big games when Morehead State played top 20 programs, most notably his performance against Louisville in a first-round 2011 upset – and he’s undersized by any measure as a power forward, checking in at 6-foot-7˝ in Chicago. I have little doubt that Faried will have a long NBA career and the team that gets him will be happy to have him. Though not the same type of player, exactly, Faried is similar in my mind for this draft to what Kenneth Patterson was in the last draft. On the right team, he’ll be a great fit. Faried with the Knicks, for instance, would be great, playing on a frontline with Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony where he wouldn’t need to score. The Pistons could certainly use his rebounding, but would they get enough scoring out of a frontcourt with Monroe, Jerebko and Faried?
Mario (Lansing, Mich.): I hope to see Big Ben back next year, but if we don’t do you think he will ever come back in another capacity – coach, scout or front-office executive? Is he a first-ballot Hall of Famer?
Langlois: He’s talked about pursuing a law degree but also hinted he could see himself keeping one foot in the basketball world. He’s going to want to stay busy, that’s for sure. I think that’s a big reason it’s hard for most people to see him retiring this summer. As for his Hall of Fame chances, it sure didn’t hurt that Dennis Rodman just made the cut. That will serve as a very recent and relevant precedent. A four-time Defensive Player of the Year certainly figures to be attractive to a voting body that just saw Rodman as fit for Hall inclusion.
Clarence (Farmington Hills, Mich.): I think the Pistons should draft Tristan Thompson with the first pick and Keith Benson in the second round. Do you think the Pistons should go all big in this draft? And what about Penn State’s Talor Battle with the pick at No. 52?
Langlois: If they go big in the first round, as Joe Dumars has said is the most likely option but not a slam dunk, then it really depends on the talent available at pick 33. Ideally, I think they’d like to get a small forward to give them another option at that spot in the event that both Tayshaun Prince and Tracy McGrady are lost to free agency. But the strength of the draft at 33 might be big men (Benson being one of them) or point guards, a spot I doubt the Pistons are looking to buffer unless they think somebody at 33 can crack their two-deep – not likely. As for Battle as a candidate at 52, he’s not listed in the top 100 prospects by two analysts with solid track records, Chad Ford of ESPN.com and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com. That’s a useful reminder how big the leap is from college to the pros. Battle carried his Penn State for three years, but there are a lot of guys like him who never make the NBA. He didn’t score very efficiently and he’s really undersized. I wouldn’t rule out Battle making it as an undrafted free agent or having a nice career for himself internationally. But I’d be surprised if he got drafted. For what it’s worth, he wasn’t one of the 54 players invited to Chicago for the draft combine.
Erges (Tirana, Albania): How come nobody is talking about Donatas Motiejunas as the No. 8 pick? He’s not a shot-blocker, but skilled 7-footers are hard to find, right? One of them just destroyed Oklahoma City.
Langlois: We’ve talked about Motiejunas often, Erges – consistently listing him with Valanciunas, Vesely and the other international prospects. He’s one of the players we plan to profile as possibilities for the No. 8 pick. And as I’ve written, if he really turns out to be like Dirk Nowitzki, he’ll be the best player in this draft. The reason I would make him a less likely option than a few others to be taken No. 8, though, is that a stretch four – which is what Motiejunas projects to be – is pretty low on the Pistons’ list of needs when they already have Charlie Villanueva and Austin Daye to fill that role. But the Pistons are well aware of him. Joe Dumars, Scott Perry and George David have all traveled to Europe to scout the top prospects and all three will be heading to Treviso next week, where Motiejunas is expected to be available for interviews and measurements.
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