Pistons Mailbag - Monday, March 26, 2012

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.

Editor’s note: You can now submit Pistons Mailbag questions via Twitter. Include the hashtag #pistonsmailbag and, as always, your first name, hometown and state or country. Questions submitted via Twitter will also include the questioner’s Twitter handle.

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Dawn (Allendale, Mich.): OK, Vernon Macklin got 20 rebounds for Fort Wayne in Saturday’s game. If Joe D going to make good and bring him back up? Might as well get a good look at him.

Langlois: Joe D was laughing when he told him that, Dawn, and Vernon understood it wasn’t anything more than friendly banter. The Pistons have decided they likely will have Macklin stick around to finish out the D-League season with Fort Wayne. That’s only five more games, wrapping on April 7. That could change depending on team need, but it’s the plan as of today. Check out the story on Vernon we’ve posted on Pistons.com.

Kevin (@sirKEValot): Is it a lock the Pistons grab a big in the draft?

Langlois: A lock? No. Probable? Can’t even say that any longer, but still the better bet. Still think of the top 10 prospects in the draft, six or seven are going to be bigs and, all things being equal, the Pistons need more depth and frontcourt athleticism. But they won’t pass a perimeter player they think has star potential for a big man they’re less certain about.

Alex (@EmmingsCFS): Any way to avoid drafting Sullinger?

Langlois: No guarantee Sullinger will even be available to the Pistons. Even though he wasn’t as productive as many might have expected this year, he’s closing strong and it’s conceivable the minor injuries he suffered early in the season explained his lack of dominant performances. He might not have the upside of some big men in the draft, but he’s probably more of a sure thing. One thing’s for sure: There will be a ton of NBA eyes on the Final Four this weekend. Sullinger going up against Thomas Robinson, to the extent they will be matched one on one, will make for an interesting matchup that could sway scouts one way or the other if there’s a clear-cut winner. Should Ohio State and Kentucky advance, and if Sullinger experiences success scoring against Anthony Davis, then fears Sullinger would struggle to score against NBA athleticism would be assuaged some, I suspect.

Dorrean (Detroit): What do you think about a trade of Ben Gordon and Austin Daye for Courtney Lee and Chandler Parsons? Lee is a bigger guard who can shoot a little better than Gordon and played well during Orlando’s playoff run a couple of years ago. Parsons is playing well this season. Would the Pistons be interested?

Langlois: It has a chance of working under salary-cap rules simply because Houston could be significantly under the cap this summer even if it exercises its options on players like Patrick Patterson and Chase Budinger, Dorrean. But the Rockets would be absorbing more than $10 million extra in 2012-13 salary and I don’t think they would bite on that unless they were getting a star or close to it in return. If Gordon plays well enough over the season’s final 18 games to make it a tough call for Houston, then it would be a similarly tough call for the Pistons. That doesn’t mean he’d have to score 45 frequently, as he did in his brilliant outing last week in Denver, but he’d have to score with more consistency than he’s done to this point.

Dwayne (Indianapolis): With the Blazers waiving Mehmet Okur, do you see the Pistons giving him a shot?

Langlois: He’ll be 33 in May and is coming off a few serious injuries, Dwayne. The ball is in Memo’s court on this one. Does he want to continue to play in the NBA and does he have enough left in the tank to be a contributor? The first one only he really knows. The second … well, maybe even he isn’t sure at this point. If he’s healthy and gets in top shape, he’ll be in demand. He has a history with the Pistons and their need for a big man would make a mutual exploration of the possibilities likely. But it’s a long way down that road.

Trae (York, S.C.): Do you think the Pistons should draft Thomas Robinson if he’s still there? I think he and Monroe together would be great.

Langlois: I don’t think there will be a safer No. 2 pick behind Anthony Davis, or a more likely one at this point, than Robinson. But there is still a long way to go until late June and plenty of chances for others to make an impression in the predraft process. The Pistons, I would guess, would have to draw a top-three pick in the May 30 lottery in order to have a real shot at Robinson. The overriding question that scouts are going to have to satisfy for themselves with Robinson is how tall he really is and whether his tremendous success as a Kansas junior can translate to the NBA as a power forward if he’s 6-foot-8 or less.

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