Pistons Mailbag - Thursday, April 26, 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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Peter (Jackson, Mich.): Please don’t tell me the Pistons are going to draft a certain forward from Ohio State. He will eat most of his shots near the basket and he is so slow afoot he will never properly defend a pick and roll in the pros.

Langlois: I’ve had scouts from a few teams express virtually the same sentiment, Peter: They think Sullinger comes from great stock and is a high-character kid, but they too have concerns about his foot speed in defending the pick and roll and wonder whether he’ll be able to score in a crowd. Everybody still believes he’ll wind up being a lottery pick, likely a top 10 pick. If Vegas were to set an over/under line on where Sullinger would go in the draft, my guess is it would be somewhere a notch or two ahead of where the Pistons figure to draft if the lottery plays to form. There won’t be any leaks from Joe Dumars’ front office on what their view is of Sullinger or anyone else – it’s as impenetrable a war room as any in the NBA – so I can’t tell you the Pistons will or won’t draft Sullinger. I would say I think there are at least three or four more likely picks if they pick ninth, though. John Henson and Tyler Zeller from North Carolina would be in that group. That’s about where they’re projected to go by credible draft evaluators and they fit the Pistons’ most obvious need: frontcourt size and depth.

Oscar (Lisbon, Portugal): Are we getting any cap relief in the 2013 off-season? Rumors about the Kings trying to trade Evans are out there. He strikes me as a young Dwyane Wade.

Langlois: There are rumblings that Evans contributes to a combustible locker room, Oscar, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Sacramento would be amenable to trading him. But good luck trying to figure out what’s going on in Sacramento. The Kings have had a frontcourt surplus – a rare commodity in the NBA, never mind for a lottery team – in recent seasons and done little to use it to their advantage. The uncertainty of the franchise’s future hovers over everything. Evans is immensely talented but not likely a trade target for a Pistons team that would sooner invest the resources required to add a player of that caliber in their frontcourt. As for the cap outlook in 2013, it should be favorable. Two of their biggest contracts, Ben Gordon’s and Charlie Villanueva’s, will be entering the finals seasons, which opens up trade possibilities significantly.

Steve (Sterling Heights, Mich.): I was wondering what you thought about the idea of the Pistons pursuing either Jordan Hill, Anthony Randolph, Marreese Speights or Jason Thompson this summer. Is there one that stands out in your mind?

Langlois: Hill is the only one who’ll be an unrestricted free agent, Steve, so he stands out – because we all know the history of restricted free agency is that it’s pretty restrictive. For reasons discussed in above questions, I don’t expect the Pistons to be major players in free agency this summer. Hill could be one of those under-the-radar types. It’s not likely he will get an early offer. A player of his caliber usually has to wait until the smoke clears on the first wave of free agency. The Pistons’ interest will hinge on a few things, including how they feel about their roster coming out of the draft, their inklings about whether Ben Wallace will come back for another year and what Jason Maxiell decides to do regarding his option year.

John (Maybee, Mich.): I really liked Amir Johnson when he was with the Pistons. Why wouldn’t we look into bringing him back to pair with Greg Monroe? That would be a good starting frontcourt. We could send Maxiell and Macklin or even Charlie V. That would benefit both teams.

Langlois: With Ed Davis and Johnson being fairly similar players, the Raptors probably would be open to trading Amir and the three years and roughly $20 million he still has left on his contract. The Raptors have Jonas Valanciunas, last year’s No. 5 pick, in the pipeline and still have Andrea Bargnani and are looking for perimeter help. They’re likely to come away from the draft with somebody like Harrison Barnes, Bradley Beal or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. If they still have a perimeter hole to plug after the draft and free agency, perhaps they would dangle Johnson or Davis at that point. They hired a defensive-oriented coach, Dwane Casey, last summer, so keep that in mind, as well. Any deals they do likely will be motivated by the intention of moving from an offensively oriented roster to one more stout defensively. Bargnani might be the trade chip Toronto is likelier to dangle.

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