Pistons Mailbag FAQs
Editor’s note: We began our Mailbag feature at the start of the 2006-07 season and, like most recurring features, it took a while to find and build an audience. It’s become an incredibly popular feature with hundreds of questions pouring in every week. We’re aware that new people are finding Pistons.com all the time and even those who’ve been here a while might be new to Mailbag. A handful of questions keep getting asked, so instead of answering the same questions repeatedly, we’ve put together a list of Mailbag FAQs. We’ll add more as they become relevant and take some off as they lose relevance, but we intend to keep Mailbag FAQs as a permanent feature of the Mailbag portion of pistons.com. Return to the Mailbag homepage.
Question: When will The Palace host an All-Star game?
Langlois: All-Star games are generally held in cities with new arenas or those where interest in the basketball team needs a shot in the arm. Many NBA teams are hesitant to host an All-Star game because the game – and, really, All-Star Weekend, as it has come to be known – has evolved into a significant marketing opportunity for the NBA to reward its corporate sponsors. Very few tickets are made available to the host city, and loyal season-ticket holders might feel alienated if they get shut out. Most tickets go to the NBA’s business partners, and those business partners can and often do use the tickets as either rewards for their top performers or to schmooze prospective clients. As a result, the NBA has gotten creative in choosing host sites. One year it went to Las Vegas, which doesn’t have an NBA team or season-ticketholders. Another, it was held in Dallas – but not at the home of the Mavericks, but in cavernous Cowboys Stadium, instead.
Question: What draft choices do the Pistons have this year?
Langlois: The Pistons have their own first- and second-round picks and also a pick they got from the Los Angeles Clippers, which will be the 56th pick. That pick was the result of a 2009 trade that sent Alex Acker to the Clippers, motivated by the Pistons’ desire to avoid luxury taxes.
Question: What protections were on the first-round pick the Pistons sent to Charlotte in the Ben Gordon-Corey Maggette trade?
Langlois: The Pistons keep the pick in 2013 because it is a lottery pick. Had the Pistons made the playoffs this season, Charlotte would have received the pick. The pick is protected if it’s 1-8 in 2014, protected if it is the No. 1 pick in 2015 and unprotected in 2016.
Question: Can you explain how much cap space the Pistons will have this summer?
Langlois: The cap was $58 million for 2012-13. We won’t know what the cap for 2013-14 will be until the first week of July, when the NBA – after reviewing financial statements, which determines the cap number, as the fiscal year ends on June 30 – will adjust the number for next season. Most expect it to go up. And how much it goes up, obviously, will factor into the amount of space under the cap the Pistons will have at their disposal. Let’s assume it stays flat, simply for the sake of a starting point. Under contract for next season, with their widely reported salaries (not necessarily accurate, but let’s assume they are for our exercise) listed, are: Charlie Villanueva ($8.6 million), Rodney Stuckey ($8.5 million), Jonas Jerebko ($4.5 million), Greg Monroe ($4 million), Brandon Knight ($2.8 million), Andre Drummond ($2.5 million), Kyle Singler ($1 million) and Khris Middleton ($800,000). That comes to $32.7 million. They also have team options on Slava Kravtsov ($1.5 million) and Kim English ($800,000). If you assume both come back, you’re at $35 million – which would put the Pistons $23 million under the current cap. If neither comes back, the number would go up to roughly $25 million. They could create more by using the amnesty clause on Villanueva (that would get them to $33.6 million) and by buying out the guaranteed portion of Rodney Stuckey’s contract (reported to be $4 million), which would get them to approximately $38 million. I don’t think it’s likely that either of the last two things happen, so for rounding purposes I’ve been using $25 million as the rough starting point for the summer, not because I’m assuming Kravtsov and English don’t return, only because it would be relatively easy to get to that number – but not so easy to get to the larger number without cutting into their rotation and needing to spend similar money to fill it back out.
Question: Where can I get a custom-made protective face mask like the one Rip Hamilton wears?
Langlois: Pistons trainer Mike Abdenour suggests contacting Jeremy Murray at Michigan Hand & Sports Rehab Center, 11012 East 13 Mile Road, Suite 112, Warren MI 48093 or call (586) 573-8890.
Question: Will the Pistons wear their road red uniforms or another alternate jersey this season?
Langlois: Stay tuned. There is no definitive news yet, but a team official did reveal two years ago that the Pistons were looking into a new alternative jersey for the 2013-14 season.
Question: How can I become a Pistons ball boy?
Langlois: Go to Pistons.com and click on the “Promotions” tab and find the Tim Horton’s ball boy entry form.
Question: How can I get a job with the Pistons or another NBA team?
Langlois: If you’re interested in becoming a scout, coach or front-office employee, and you’re still in high school or in college, the best advice is to start on the ground floor. Volunteer with your high school or college coach. You might start out doing nothing more than chasing down loose balls and picking up discarded tape and soiled towels, but you’ll get to see the inner workings of a basketball program. Impress your high school coach and he’ll recommend you as a student manager to the coach at the college you attend. If you impress the college coach and eventually earn his trust to do more important things, like helping with video editing or assisting on recruiting visits, that will get your resume a longer look by an NBA team. It’s really no different than trying to work you way into any other profession. The sooner you can start and the more people you come across and impress for your enterprise and enthusiasm along the way, the better off you’ll be.
Question: Can you explain how the NBA draft lottery works?
Langlois: Fourteen Ping-Pong balls – numbered 1 through 14 – are placed in a lottery machine and four balls are randomly selected to determine a lottery combination. There are 1,001 possible outcomes when you discount order (for example, 1-2-3-4 is the same as 4-3-2-1). Of those 1,001 possible outcomes, one (11,12, 13, 14) is discounted and the other 1,000 are divided among the 14 lottery teams. The team with the worst record is assigned the most outcomes, 250. The team with the second-worst record will have 199, then 156, 119, 88, 63, 43, 28, 17, 11, 8, 7 6 and 5. So the team with the worst record will have a 25 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick, a 21.5 percent chance of getting the No. 2 pick, a 17.8 percent chance of getting the No. 3 pick and a 35.7 percent chance of getting the No. 4 pick. That team could not pick lower than fourth. Even though that team will have a better chance than any other team of getting the No. 1 pick, it will actually have a better chance of getting the No. 4 pick than the No. 1 pick, though a better chance of landing inside the top three than outside of it. No team can be pushed down more than three spots from where they would pick based on record, but any of the 14 teams has a chance to land inside the top three based on having one of their four-digit combinations selected.
Question: How can I get an RSS feed for your True Blue Pistons blog?
Langlois: True Blue Pistons entries, as well as Mailbag entries, are included in the Pistons.com RSS feed. You can sign up here.