Pistons Mailbag - Monday, December 19, 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.
Clyde (Farmington Hills, Mich.): How does the amnesty clause work? My understanding is it can be used once over the life of the CBA to give cap relief, but the player still has to be paid. Does this mean there are luxury tax implications?
Langlois: The amnesty can be used at any point of the life of the new CBA, but it can only be used on contracts signed under the old CBA. The player collects 100 percent of the money due him, but it gets wiped off the books for both salary cap and luxury tax purposes.
Nick (Harrison Twp., Mich.): I love Monroe and what he brings to the table, but is he really a center? What are the chances we sign Thabeet or another good big man?
Langlois: If there are two or three centers in the NBA that Monroe would struggle against, then trust me – they’re the same two or three that everybody else struggles against, too. I think Monroe has convinced the front office that he’s capable of playing either frontcourt spot and that their personnel decisions in acquiring future frontcourt players will be predicated more on what skills are compatible with Monroe’s more so than looking specifically for a power forward or a center. If Thabeet is to get more than a minimum contract, it’s going to have to come from a GM who believes the fact that two organizations have essentially already given up on him two years into his NBA career missed the mark.
Chris (Brighton, Mich.): Going into the season, it looks like Miami, Chicago, Indiana, New York and Boston are tops in the conference. Other than Atlanta, are there any other teams in the East on paper that could challenge the Pistons for one of the last two playoff spots?
Langlois: Philadelphia finished the season very strong and gave Miami a competitive first-round playoff series. Orlando, until further notice, still has Dwight Howard, which assures the Magic of winning enough games to be in the playoff mix. Milwaukee gets Andrew Bogut back healthy. That’s nine teams. Pistons have to beat out at least two of them.
Ben (St. Augustine, Fla.): Do you think Austin Daye could learn to play defense well enough to effectively play shooting guard?
Langlois: Austin has the offensive versatility to play three positions – shooting guard to power forward. Where he spends most of his minutes will be determined by the position he best can guard. At power forward, of course, he has to deal with the likelihood that he’s going to be going up against players significantly stronger than he is. At shooting guard, the challenge will be lateral quickness. In both cases, Daye’s extraordinary reach can help him counter his disadvantages. As he matures physically and gains more knowledge of personnel and tricks of the trade, perhaps he’ll settle in more at one position than another. Until then, putting him in position to best take advantage of his unique offensive skills is the key to getting the most out of him.
Adam (Rochester, Mich.): What are your thoughts on how the Hamilton departure will affect Ben Gordon? Do you think he will finally be able to regain the stuff he had in Chicago? It was obvious before that Hamilton and Gordon both suffered by splitting minutes.
Langlois: On paper, nobody gets a bigger opportunity created by Hamilton’s departure than Gordon. Gordon started off both of his two seasons in Detroit playing very well. If he gets off to another good start this year, without the urgency to shoehorn Hamilton into the lineup for 35 minutes, I would expect Gordon would have a better shot at sustaining rhythm and momentum. The re-signing of Rodney Stuckey and the apparent readiness of Brandon Knight to assume a role – it’s early, but Knight certainly hasn’t shown any signs he’s overwhelmed by the stage – gives Lawrence Frank plenty of backcourt options. But no question that Gordon’s 3-point threat provides the Pistons with a big weapon. He’s 28. There’s no reason to believe he’s lost anything physically. And Gordon has been noticeably upbeat about Frank’s system and coaching style.
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