Pistons Mailbag - Monday, December 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.
We reserve the right to edit your question for the sake of brevity or clarity.
Jason (Colorado Springs, Colo.): I’m extremely excited for this group. I know trades are a part of the game, but do you think with the new system and demeanor Lawrence Frank projects, that some time will be given to see if this group clicks? I truly think the Pistons can be a playoff team. Maybe I’m too excited, but set me straight if I am wrong.
Langlois: The quality of the East’s playoff field is going to be its strongest in many seasons, Jason. Once you get past the teams at the top – Miami, Chicago, Boston, New York and perhaps Orlando still – then you have a next wave of Atlanta, Indiana and Philadelphia, plus a few others in Milwaukee and New Jersey that will be playoff challengers if Andrew Bogut stays healthy and Brook Lopez returns before the Nets are buried too deeply. I think this year’s Pistons are going to be a better team than last year’s Pistons – and especially so as the season progresses – but it will be a greater challenge to make the playoffs this year than it’s been in the last few, as well. As for trades, I think Joe Dumars will be ready to listen and ready to deal. But Tayshaun Prince, Rodney Stuckey and Jonas Jerebko, as free agents who just re-signed, are not eligible to be traded until March 1; and Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight are highly unlikely to be going anywhere. That doesn’t leave a lot of working parts to discuss.
Lee (Detroit): Mr. Gores said he is open to spending if he gets value. Well, he should go after Dwight Howard.
Langlois: There are 30 owners in the league who’d sign off on a maximum deal for Howard without blinking, Lee. It’s not a matter of spending the money on Howard, it’s a matter of Howard choosing the next place he’d like to play. So far, by all indications, he wants the Nets or the Lakers, the Knicks all but eliminated because they won’t have cap space to sign him nor the assets to make Orlando consider a trade.
John (Petoskey, Mich.): I live in Petoskey and I’m looking for a local radio station that carries Pistons broadcast. Can you help?
Langlois: Here’s the list of Pistons radio affiliates, John. You can find it on Pistons.com under the “Schedules” tab, listed under “radio affiliates.”
Nikola (Belgrade, Serbia): Everyone can see we need a big man badly. And I can see that Indiana is loaded with big men. Can we make a deal for one of their big men, Hansbrough or Hibbert?
Langlois: Able big men are the baseball equivalent of left-handed starting pitchers who eat up 200 innings a year, Nikola. Indiana obviously doesn’t think it has too many big men – the Pacers just dealt Brandon Rush to Golden State to pick up a sixth big, Louis Amundsen. In addition to Roy Hibbert, Tyler Hansbrough and Amundsen, the Pacers also have veteran Jeff Foster, David West and project Jeff Pendergraph.
Ron (Traverse City, Mich.): When was the last time a Piston had a triple-double?
Langlois: On Feb. 20, 2004, Chauncey Billups had 20 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in a win over Minnesota. Amazingly enough, in the midst of what would become a championship season, the Pistons lost that game, 88-87.
Ken (Dharamsala, India): We might have an enthusiastic young owner willing to spend money to get and keep a quality center. Monroe’s abilities aside, a real defensive and rebound-oriented center is what the Pistons need. Can we get one, who might he be and when will he arrive?
Langlois: Sounds like you’re describing Dwight Howard, Ken. If you’re determined to wait until one like that arrives before you’ll give the Pistons an honest shot at winning big again, you might be waiting forever. I think you’re selling Monroe short. He gave every indication last year he’ll do more than hold his own as a rebounder. He took huge steps last year as a defender, too, turning into a player the coaching staff believed was their best pick-and-roll defender at season’s end. Lawrence Frank is on the record saying he thinks Monroe will be a very good defensive player, citing his ability to get his hands on balls among his best attributes. Monroe showed last year he is a willing and able learner. He’s working with new assistant coach Roy Rogers, a former No. 1 pick who played center in the NBA, and they’ve struck up a good relationship. I think we’ll see Monroe continue to get better and better on the defensive end. If the Pistons can add a big man next to him who complements Monroe – say, an athletic defender, or a low-post scoring threat who would make Monroe even more effective as a passer and offensive rebounder – the frontcourt is going to be very strong.