Pistons Mailbag - Thursday, February 16, 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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Felix (Los Angeles): I think Meyers Leonard has all the qualities the Pistons need: size and athleticism in a well-rounded skill set. I think he has a higher ceiling than Thomas Robinson. Will Leonard be a top-eight candidate in the draft? If players like Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond and Robinson are gone, would Joe reach for Leonard?

Langlois: I don’t know what Leonard’s intentions are, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back at Illinois next season. It’s fun to talk about all these players now, but the truth is even Joe D couldn’t tell you right now with any conviction how he’d slot players. He’s seen them all. So has everybody else on his scouting staff. And they’ve all written their individual evaluation reports. But the draft process has many more steps to go. First comes determining the player pool. Who’s going to be in the draft? Then it’s the combine, individual workouts and face-to-face meetings. Every available game tape –and for the players you’re talking about, that’s really every college game they’ve ever played – will be pored over. And then – in the final weeks leading up to the draft – the entire front-office staff convenes and ranks players. I’ll say this about Leonard: His production is very spotty right now, but I can see why scouts are excited about him – great size and very plain athletic ability. Now it will come down to what scouts feel is the likelihood he’ll harness that potential – does he want to be a great player, does he make intuitive basketball plays, does he care about winning, does he love basketball?

Bosco (Abingdon, England): Will Drummond be available at four to six in the 2012 draft? I see his stock falling as he isn’t really productive for UConn. My top three are Davis, Robinson and Barnes.

Langlois: See the Leonard analysis above, Bosco. The X factor with Drummond will be how the apparent banning of UConn from the 2012 NCAA tournament factors into his decision to leave for the NBA. Drummond, until very late last summer, intended to attend prep school this year and then go to UConn next season. That tells me he hasn’t been fixated on getting to the NBA by next season, though if he’s virtually assured of being a top-five pick then history suggests he’ll change his mind and come out.

Eric (Lansing, Mich.): With Jeremy Lin being new to the NBA, is he eligible to be Rookie of the Year?

Langlois: No. Played 29 games with Golden State a year ago, Eric. All it takes is one.

Hevvy: JaVale McGee is a free agent this summer. Do you think the Pistons could sign him or trade for him?

Langlois: Cannot imagine Washington letting McGee get away for no return, but I can believe the Wizards are open to the idea of working out a trade. Much will depend on the draft lottery. If the Wizards land the No. 1 pick, the prospect of landing Anthony Davis would almost surely lead them to try to work out a trade for McGee, who will be a restricted free agent.

Eli (Baltimore): What about a trade of Stuckey to the Lakers for Andrew Goudelock and the trade exception the Lakers got from Dallas in the Lamar Odom deal? That would give the Pistons a solid backup to Knight for years to come. Or the trade exception and Steve Blake for Charlie Villanueva? Then we could amnesty Ben Gordon. Your thoughts?

Langlois: I think Joe Dumars and Lawrence Frank are convinced Stuckey has a lot to offer. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t consider a trade, but unless they have a specific move in mind then I doubt doing it for a trade exception would hold very much appeal. Also, it should be noted that ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reported recently that because Stuckey’s contract wasn’t signed until after Dec. 15, he can’t be traded until after the season. (Three months from the signing of the contract, but the trade deadline is March 15.)

Thomas (Portsmouth, Va.): Is there a reason why Vernon Macklin isn’t in the rotation? He has young legs and provides lots of energy.

Langlois: Lawrence Frank is playing four big guys, Thomas, and for a few games recently he really was going with a three-man rotation of Greg Monroe, Jason Maxiell and Jonas Jerebko. Ben Wallace is perfect for that No. 4 big man role, where being assignment-sure and solid defensively are desirable qualities. I don’t think anyone expected that Macklin, as the No. 52 pick, would be more than a fill-in type during his rookie season. He’s showed well in the rare chances he’s had to play, but the circumstances of the season – with so few practices available for him to make his case for more time – make it tough for an unproven guy to get a real shot unless a wave of injuries strike.

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