Pistons Mailbag - Thursday, June 23, 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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Eric (Lake Orion, Mich.): In my eyes, there is not a better fit for the Pistons than to draft Bismack Biyombo. He is the young, aggressive competitor the Pistons need. His passion for the game is amazing. I could see him being a future Ben Wallace.
Langlois: Everything I’ve read and heard about Biyombo makes it pretty clear he’s an impressive and extremely mature young man – however old he is. His defensive potential is remarkable, by most accounts. But by every account, his offensive development is almost nil. To call him raw might be an understatement. Even his biggest supporters admit he’s a liability with the ball in his hands. Ben Wallace was never a scoring threat, but you could throw the ball to him in the post and expect him to make a good decision and the occasional great pass – at least the Ben Wallace Pistons fans recall. As a younger player, he too was turnover prone. Teams aren’t sure Biyombo will get to the point of Ben Wallace in his prime. That’s part of what makes him a risk, but in a draft filled with risks, perhaps not many have his impact potential. That’s why his story on draft night will be among the most fascinating in a draft filled with uncertainty. The Pistons, by the way, are confident that no team has spent more time studying Biyombo and getting to know him and his game than they are. So if they take him – and I have them doing so in my mock draft, though I concede it was a 50-50 call with Tristan Thompson the other leading possibility – you can bet they’re confident he’ll find a way to contribute offensively.
Felix (Dublin, Ireland): Reports claim the Pistons are interested in both Tristan Thompson and Bismack Biyombo. I don’t get it. They’re similar players but Biyombo is obviously the better prospect with a higher ceiling. If there’s a similar risk, why Thompson over Biyombo?
Langlois: Joe Dumars and his staff probably went late into Wednesday night still debating that issue, Felix. They were still conducting workouts as late as Wednesday. Thompson and Biyombo worked out for them only on Tuesday. They wait until they have collected all of the available information and then sit down and compare player to player and do their what-if scenarios. I can tell you that as late as early Wednesday evening, they did not have a clear consensus as to what they would do in a variety of scenarios at No. 8 – that’s a meeting they always put off until 24 hours or so before the draft. You say there’s similar risk. I’m not sure that’s a conclusion others would come to. Maybe there isn’t. Maybe the Pistons – who’ve analyzed every bit of available info on both players – will conclude something entirely different than your assumption.
Adam (Melbourne, Australia): If Irving does slip to Minnesota’s pick at No. 2, can you see the Pistons trying to make a move – maybe future picks and any player except Monroe?
Langlois: If Cleveland takes Derrick Williams first, I think Minnesota would be more inclined to take Enes Kanter at No. 2 than do anything else. Based on what Minnesota was asking for last year’s No. 4 pick, David Kahn asks a lot for high draft picks.
Steve (Hollywood, Fla.): Do you think the fact that Jonas Valanciunas is now stuck in his contract in Europe for another year will remove him from consideration for the Pistons pick at No. 8?
Langlois: That’s another of the several complicating factors of a draft that is almost unknowable, Steve. My hunch is that unless the Pistons see the gap between Valanciunas and whoever is available to them at eight as gaping, they would have a hard time taking him without any guarantee that he might be available even for the 2012-13 season. It’s not so much that they wouldn’t have him for next season – by most accounts, Valanciunas won’t be ready for a significant role next year, anyway – but that they would be trusting the development of his body and his skills to another organization. And an organization, by the way, with significant financial problems that probably mean Valanciunas isn’t going to have the strength and conditioning staff or individual coaching that would hasten his development here. So you could be looking at Valanciunas not coming to the NBA for two years and not having the critical tools available to him to push his progress along. But … hey, there’s always the chance the Pistons are comfortable with the buyout language and equally comfortable with the coaching and off-court mentoring available to Valanciunas in Lithuania. We’ll know soon enough.