Pistons Mailbag - Thursday, May 3, 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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Jack (Kitchener, Ontario): Is it possible to buy a draft pick? If so, would that be an option of interest for the Pistons? I know Dallas wants to sign Deron Williams during the summer. Would $3 million and our second-rounder be enough for that pick?

Langlois: The cap hold for the No. 17 pick Dallas owns will be about $1.5 million. I don’t know if that relatively small amount would make enough difference for Dallas that it would put its No. 1 pick up for bids. The most cash teams are allowed to include in trade was $3 million under the old collective bargaining agreement. Not sure if that provision remains in the new CBA, but I haven’t heard anything to suggest it’s different.

Tiba (Detroit): The five bigs in the draft I expect we could have a shot at in order of my favorites would be Perry Jones, Arnett Moultrie, Jared Sullinger, Tyler Zeller and John Henson. An athletic power forward with a solid face-up jumper would pair best with Greg Monroe, in my opinion. What would be your five favorites in order and why?

Langlois: I’ve seen all five, Tiba, though not all that much of Moultrie. Still don’t feel comfortable that I’ve seen them in a way that would lend any credibility to a ranking of them. What I try to present here is more of a compilation of opinions I gather in talking to people from various NBA organizations and even college coaches who know the players better than I could and, more importantly, have eyes trained to evaluate a college player’s pro potential. Fans should keep in mind that teams have yet to begin working out these players individually and that will go a long way toward shaping their preferences for players like the group of five you mentioned, who are lumped pretty closely right now.

Randy (Kewaunee, Wis.): I heard Joe Dumars talk about last year’s draft when he spoke to reporters last week and said it just worked out that Brandon Knight fell because the big men the Pistons expected to be available were gone. I wonder which big men in this year’s draft you think will be gone when they pick this year?

Langlois: Anthony Davis is a lock, of course, and I believe that Andre Drummond, despite severe questions about his lack of productivity as a UConn freshman, will be gone within the top six picks, as well. After that, it’s probably 50-50 on guys like Jared Sullinger, Perry Jones III, John Henson and Tyler Zeller. Obviously, at least one and probably at least two of those players are likely to be available if the Pistons stay at No. 9. Then there are two players I’d classify as ones to watch in the predraft process: Meyers Leonard of Illinois and Arnett Moultrie of Mississippi State. As of today, it looks fairly certain the Pistons would have a shot at either one. Both, however, possess the type of size and athleticism that will earn them close looks from a lot of teams.

Aaron (Reno, Nev.): I’ve read that the Pistons aren’t likely to use their amnesty clause or sign any major free agents this summer, but is there a chance we can look into trading players like Charlie Villanueva, Ben Gordon, Austin Daye or Jason Maxiell for players like J.J. Hickson, Ed Davis, Carl Landry or Anthony Randolph?

Langlois: There’s a market for almost every player in the league, Aaron, if the price is right. You always have to keep in mind the player’s contract in figuring out what type of interest he would generate in trade. When the contract closely correlates to production, the trade value of any given player will be solid. When production greatly outweighs the size of the contract, trade value is at its highest. When the contract is greater than production … well, you get the idea. There’s no debate that Gordon and Villanueva, for a variety of reasons, have yet to live up to their contracts. That means the trade market for them would be more selective. I think it’s possible there would be legitimate interest in either player by a handful of teams this summer. If they return and show they can fill a role consistently next season, when their contract terms will be that much lesser, their trade value will ascend accordingly.

Master (Grand Rapids, Mich.): Isn’t Kevin Garnett a free agent sometime soon? He would serve as a reliable veteran presence and an intriguing partner for Monroe. Thoughts?

Langlois: I’d make the Pistons a long shot on the KG front, Master. The only reason I’d give them any shot would be Lawrence Frank’s presence after spending the 2010-11 season getting high marks from Boston players for the way he stepped in and ran the defense in Tom Thibodeau’s place. But Garnett is most likely to land with a contender that spends its mid-level exception on him – or to a team with cap space that’s reasonably close to contention. I’m sure there will be many veterans lining up to take an MLE deal in Miami. Garnett would make a lot of sense for that role.

JoJo (Baltimore, Md.): What exactly does Bill Pope do for the Pistons? I have seen his name for five-plus years as an assistant coach and scout but have never seen him on the bench and he was not in the poster of Lawrence Frank and his staff. Who is this guy?

Langlois: He’s a member of the coaching staff and has been for seven seasons, but his role is as the advance scout responsible for filing scouting reports on upcoming Pistons opponents. That means he is almost always on the road, JoJo. It’s almost certain he was on the road when they shot the photo for that poster. He probably is at The Palace for Pistons home games a half-dozen or so times a season as the schedule allows. He was behind the bench, for example, for the season finale against Philadelphia since there were no more future opponents to scout. A typical day for Pope is to grab the first flight out to his destination city in the morning, scout the game – the biggest task of the advance scout is to chart every opposition play and, if possible, learn what the play call is so when the call is made against your team the coaches can let players know what to expect – and then that night, often working until 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning, file the report so that the assistant coach Frank has assigned to handle the scouting report presented to the players is properly briefed before the next day’s practice or, if the game is to be played that night, before shootaround.

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