Pistons Mailbag - Thursday, May 17, 2012

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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Karthik (Delhi, India): If you look at Jonas Jerebko’s physical measurements – 6-foot-10, 231 pounds – it seems pretty good for a power forward. But we always read that he is not a complete fit for the position. What is the reason? Is it that he is not strong enough and the weight measurement is not an accurate indicator of his strength? Is it that he still has to figure out how to play the position?

Langlois: A combination of factors, Karthik. Jonas played small forward exclusively in Italy and for the better part of his rookie season, then missed all of his second season. His body is still maturing. I talked to Arnie Kander about this recently, as well, and he said that in a few years, Jonas will be much better prepared physically to be a full-time power forward if that’s what is required of him. He came to camp at 235 last year and lost about 7 pounds in the short preseason, playing at 228 for the season. Kander said that while the Achilles tendon was never an issue this year, the fact he missed basketball for a full year made this a tough year physically for the rest of his body – shoulders, hips and knees absorbing a pounding, over a tough schedule, that it hadn’t absorbed in nearly two years. By the time he’s 28, I don’t think we’ll be having this discussion. At 25, Kander said Jonas is something of a late bloomer physically – he just began to grow facial hair within the last year, for instance, he said – with a body that’s still evolving and gaining strength.


Marvin (Richmond, Va.): Dallas is looking for a veteran guy who can create off the dribble and will have lots of cap space. If the Mavs can’t get Deron Williams, what about a trade for Ben Gordon? He fits the bill and has only two years left on his contract. With Dirk’s career winding down, this seems like a good fit.

Langlois: If Deron Williams is Plan A in Dallas, it’s safe to say Plan B will be a big disappointment to Mavs fans. Gordon can’t do for Dallas what Williams would; he’s not the creator that one of the NBA’s top assists men has been. If Williams falls through and the Mavs try to re-create the formula that’s worked for them the past few years, it’s possible they would have interest in Gordon to replace a similar player, Jason Terry, who is a pending free agent. The players making the kind of money it would take to make a Gordon trade work are Lamar Odom, Shawn Marion and Brendan Haywood, with Haywood’s contract the longest running. Not sure the Pistons, or many teams, would want to bite off the $27 million over three years left on Haywood’s deal unless the Mavs could sweeten it with other more coveted assets. I think there are other teams out there who would have greater interest in Gordon than Dallas.


Joe (Dearborn, Mich.): Assuming Detroit gets the No. 9 pick, do you think Houston would be interested in a swap of No. 9 plus the two second-rounders for their two picks?

Langlois: What you’re proposing is a swap of 9, 39 and 44 for Houston’s picks at 14 and 16. It’s safe to say that with two picks jammed together in the middle of the first round, Houston will be a prime target of trade conversation either way – combining those picks to move up, perhaps, or dealing one or the other to move back and pick up multiple picks or a player or future assets. There are years where a team picking ninth wouldn’t be interested in trading that pick straight up for 14 and 16, never mind throwing in two second-rounders. This might be a year where you’d consider it – if you think there will be two players at 14 and 16 who might both be as good as the value available at 9. But there are other years when you might determine that there are about a dozen players good enough to eventually become NBA starters and you’d better be sitting in the top 12 if you want to guarantee landing one of them. In that scenario, 14 and 16 aren’t good enough to get you to 9.


Bill (Windsor, Ontario): Stuckey, Daye, Singler and the No. 9 pick for Kevin Martin, Chandler Parsons and Houston’s 14th and 16th picks. Does either team do this?

Langlois: Lots of moving parts in that deal, Bill. And deals with that many pieces are pretty rare. My first impression is that the Pistons wouldn’t be enticed. I like Stuckey’s future more than Martin’s given their ages and the season Stuckey put together in his first year under Lawrence Frank despite presented with many challenges. Parsons had a promising rookie season, but the Pistons aren’t ready to write off Daye, and Singler could be a second-round steal from last year’s draft. Then you come down to the value of 9 vs. 14 and 16, which is a tough call in this draft. At best, I don’t think it’s a deal the Pistons would consider until they had a little better handle on the players they project to be available at those three slots.


Sebastian (San Marcos, Texas): What do you think about a trade of Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva for Amar'e Stoudemire? It would give the Knicks reliable scoring while giving the Pistons an All-Star power forward. Would either team be interested?

Langlois: There are reasons to believe the Knicks will be looking to shop Stoudemire this summer – about 65 million of them, in fact. That’s what the Knicks still owe Stoudemire over the next three years, nearly $25 million more than the Pistons owe Villanueva and Gordon over the next two seasons. It’s a substantial difference, one you’d absorb without great trepidation if there was a high degree of confidence that you’d be getting the Stoudemire who commanded that type of deal from the Knicks in the summer of 2010. But he comes with well-chronicled knee issues – serious enough that the Knicks couldn’t obtain standard insurance coverage, reportedly – and he’s coming off a subpar season while dealing with a variety of other injuries that at least call into question whether he can ever be that player again. It would be a pretty big gamble to take on Stoudemire’s contract. Gauging that risk is what makes the job of an NBA general manager so tough. I’d be surprised if the Pistons would bite on this deal despite the star power of Stoudemire’s name.


Tiba (Detroit): Chandler and Stoudemire don’t look like they work well together because the paint is too congested. Maybe a stretch four would help the Knicks. How about Villanueva and Prince for Chandler, or throw in Jerebko and get Stoudemire? That trade makes sense for both teams.

Langlois: I don’t think the Knicks are going to dangle Chandler. Stoudemire, sure, though they are probably resigned to the likelihood that he’s nearly untradeable because of his contract/health status. Anthony, maybe. There’s a school of thought that the Knicks would be better off with one or the other of Anthony or Stoudemire to be their go-to scorer and Chandler to anchor their interior defense. Villanueva probably would have been more attractive to the Knicks under the Mike D’Antoni regime, where the stretch four was integral to the offense. Tough to read which way the Knicks will go this summer with a new GM in place and still some question who will be coaching.


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