Pistons Mailbag - Monday, June 27, 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.
We reserve the right to edit your question for the sake of brevity or clarity.
Graeme (Sudbury, Ontario): I recently read Toronto is looking to sign a free-agent center. I also read Valanciunas got his buyout and will be playing for Toronto next season. That would leave Toronto with Valanciunas, Bargnani, Johnson, Ed Davis and possibly a free-agent center. Would this be Joe D’s opportunity to nab Ed Davis?
Langlois: Valanciunas will be coming in 2012-13. Good luck to Toronto in signing a free-agent center of impact. They’re in short supply and I’m not sure the Raptors will have the wherewithal to land the few players who might be available. What would the Pistons have to offer Toronto for Davis that they could afford to give up? They have a lot of bodies at small forward – Linas Kleiza, Sonny Weems, Julian Wright, James Johnson – but no real clear-cut answer. Trouble is, the Pistons don’t really have one to spare with Tayshaun Prince and Tracy McGrady both pending free agents. One of the Pistons’ surplus shooting guards wouldn’t be a salary match, not that the Raptors are looking at that spot with DeMar DeRozan entrenched as a core piece. You could always expand the trade, but then I’m not sure what the Raptors have in addition to Davis that would interest the Pistons. Davis showed potential as a rebounder and defender as a rookie and the Raptors just hired a coach, Dwane Casey, who comes from a defensive perspective. They probably see Davis as a big piece of their future.
Jason (Detroit): What reasoning might go into picking Kyle Singler over Keith Benson at No. 33? Don’t get me wrong – I like both players. But I thought the Pistons were looking for an interior defender like Benson.
Langlois: Your phrasing – “what reasoning might go into” – is appropriate, Jason. Let’s start with that. The Pistons aren’t going to state their reasons why they didn’t take a certain player. They really liked Singler and thought he was certain to be taken somewhere in the first round. They were also looking for help at small forward and Singler is about as NBA-ready as anyone. If they need him to play as a rookie, they’ll feel pretty good about him being able to shoulder the burden. With Benson, we know there were questions about how his slight frame would hold up in the post. Benson has some really exceptional skills – he’s long with great timing as a shot-blocker and a very nice shooting touch with versatile scoring ability – and I fully believe he’ll find his niche in the NBA. He just might not be ready physically to hold up against NBA big men just yet.
Chris (Brighton, Mich.): Given the roster needs, is it reasonable to think all three draftees will make the team and maybe have a role this year?
Langlois: I don’t think there’s any question that Knight and Singler will have roster spots. Macklin’s spot could be determined by what else the Pistons do this summer and the decision of Ben Wallace to return or not. He’s indicated he probably will. Still, that leaves Wallace, Greg Monroe and Jason Maxiell as true interior players. Chris Wilcox is a free agent. I think there will be room for Macklin. How big the roles are for Knight and Singler, similarly, will be partially determined by what else gets done. If both Prince and McGrady leave as free agents, Singler could be in line for a significant role. If Knight proves he’s ready to play, the Pistons are going to find a way for him to see the court. Joe Dumars made it clear that the Pistons must be prepared to live with some growing pains in order to realize the payoff Knight’s talent can deliver, in the same way they threw Greg Monroe into the fray early last season without having seen much evidence that he was about to blossom into their best frontcourt player.
Joseph (Balaoan, Philippines): I’m sure you will be flooded with questions about why another guard was selected. I guess there’s a plan for a trade, unless Knight simply had the highest value left among the rest of the players available at No. 8.
Langlois: That’s it in a nutshell, Joseph. I’ll use an extreme example to underscore the point. In 2005, with Brett Favre already on the roster and showing no signs he was ready to quit, the Green Bay Packers spent a first-round choice on Aaron Rodgers because, in their view, picking late in the first round, he was head and shoulders the best player left on the board. The payoff wasn’t immediate, but right now the Packers have one Super Bowl trophy to show for it and are positioned to make runs for the foreseeable future. Right now, yeah, the Pistons don’t appear to have room to accommodate another guard. But will anybody care two years from now if Knight, at 21, is playing to the very high end of expectations and routinely putting the Pistons in position to win games? With all of the highest-rated big men off the board, the Pistons could have reached for a big guy with a moderate ceiling. And they’d be heading into the 2012 draft, quite likely, looking for a player better than that guy.