Pistons Mailbag - Monday, February 6, 2012 - 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.

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Gaylord (Ypsilanti, Mich.): It seems clear that after the 2012 draft we will have a complete frontcourt, so what do you think about moving Daye to the starting shooting guard position? We could go from a seemingly small team to a team with disruptive length overnight.

Langlois: Let’s see what the draft really brings before mulling position switches for Austin Daye next season, Gaylord. If the Pistons draft a big man, it really might not affect Daye all that much. If he proves capable of holding up defensively in spot minutes at power forward, his ability to act as a “stretch four” offensively will remain an intriguing option for Lawrence Frank. In that case, his competition for minutes would really be Charlie Villaneuva. As for Daye playing shooting guard and playing it well enough to earn a starting berth, it will all depend on how he progresses – which really means if he can produce consistently, not sporadically.

Jason (Montague, Mich.): I love the Pistons and Joe D, but sometimes a lateral move will spark a team, the players and the city. I have skipped watching more games this season than the last 15 years combined.

Langlois: Joe D is open for trades, Jason, but the reality is that he doesn’t have a lot of tradable commodities at the moment. Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva and Will Bynum have been out for several weeks. Rodney Stuckey, Tayshaun Prince and Jonas Jerebko can’t be traded until March 1 or later. Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight aren’t going anywhere. That doesn’t leave a whole lot on the table, does it? I understand the pain fans might feel watching the Pistons in some games this year, when the offense grinds to a halt and deficits grow. But I think they’ll turn a corner before the season ends because you can sense the fight in them and the desire to make it work under Lawrence Frank, whose boundless enthusiasm and optimism is a pretty powerful force. And Monroe and Knight give them two really nice building blocks at 21 and 20. Give Joe D one more impact draft pick and Frank a full off-season and I think we’re going to see the first noticeable step forward next season. A year from now, public perception of the Pistons will be 180 degrees from where it is today.

Admir (Warren, Mich.): Why did the Pistons go from champions to worst team in the NBA?

Langlois: Same reason the Chicago Bulls went from winning six titles in the ’90s to winning an average of 16½ games in the four seasons following their last title, Admir. Even great players grow old. Even great franchises lose to Father Time. The Pistons had a great run: seven straight 50-win seasons, six straight conference finals. Joe D tried to make the transition seamless by trading Chauncey Billups to create cap space. Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva so far haven’t produced at the levels they managed prior to coming to Detroit and both have been injured much or all of this season. The Lakers suffered when the Showtime bunch grew old, only recovering when Shaquille O’Neal went there as a free agent. The Celtics went 22 years between titles after Larry Bird and that bunch won in 1986. San Antonio is rapidly approaching its transitional era as Tim Duncan starts to fade. There’s no mystery here. The fact that in two trips to the lottery, without benefit of any breaks on lottery night, Joe D has Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight in the fold gives the Pistons a great shot to avoid the extended droughts that afflict many teams who misfire when they fall into the lottery.

Alfred (Negaunee, Mich.): A little over a quarter of the way into the season, the Pistons had a 0.167 winning percentage after 24 games. Is this the worst start in franchise history?

Langlois: Through 24 games, yes. The 4-20 start was two games below the 6-18 record the 1963-64 Pistons posted. The worst season in franchise history was 1979-80, which began with Dick Vitale as the team’s coach. The Pistons that year were 8-16 after 24 games, by which time Richie Adubato had replaced Vitale on an interim basis. Jack McCloskey was hired around that time, as well, and after the season he hired Scotty Robertson to coach the team.

Aaron (Seattle, Wash.): I know it’s early, but what big men are the Pistons looking at in the draft?

Langlois: You’re right – it’s early. But, of course, teams are and have been out scouting college players and, in fact, because of the lockout general managers and top assistants had more time to look at college players throughout November than they typically do at a time they are normally preoccupied with their teams in the first month of the NBA season and doing hard assessments of their rosters. As for who they’re looking at, Aaron, it’s no secret. Peruse any of the more credible NBA draft sites – I’d recommend ESPN.com’s Chad Ford and Draftexpress.com’s Jonathan Givony as the best-informed sources – and you’ll find the players the Pistons and all NBA teams are most aggressively tracking.

Frank (Canton, Mich.): Is there a timetable on any of the Pistons’ injuries?

Langlois: None have been voiced, Frank, except that Lawrence Frank on Friday morning said that Will Bynum was a game-time decision for that night’s game. I think he and Ben Gordon are both close. Charlie Villanueva’s injured ankle is currently being immobilized, so we’ll see what the next step is for him.

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