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 second-round pick, but they are obligated to send their first-round pick to Charlotte unless it is among the top eight picks in the 2014 draft. If the Pistons keep the pick this year, then they must send it to Charlotte in 2015 unless they win the lottery and get the No. 1 pick. The pick would be unprotected if it is conveyed in 2016.

Question: Can you explain how much cap space the Pistons will have this summer?

Langlois: In ballpark numbers, start with about $10 million. That counts the guaranteed contracts due Josh Smith, Brandon Jennings, Jonas Jerebko, Will Bynum, Andre Drummond, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Gigi Datome, Kyle Singler and Tony Mitchell and assumes the Pistons pick up the option on Chauncey Billups. They would lose a little less than an additional $2 million in cap space if they pick up the second-year options on Josh Harrellson and Peyton Siva. Now add another $10 million onto their obligations when you factor in the cap hold for Greg Monroe. We’re around $50 million, roughly, not counting the Siva and Harrellson options. The cap is expected to rise next year, perhaps in the $60 million to $62 million range, though front offices generally err on the side of caution when they plan for the coming off-season. If you assume a $60 million cap and factor in Monroe’s cap hold, the Pistons would then have about $10 million in space heading into the summer of 2014.

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:Not road red, but they will wear an alternate uniform this season, the dark blue Motor City unis that they plan to wear on home Sundays this 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. If you’re already out of college, unless you have a friend who can help you through the front door, you’ll probably need to volunteer to help a D-League team or something of a similar nature.

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.