Pistons Mailbag - Thursday, May 17, 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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Vance (Detroit): I think the Pistons should make a serious bid for JaVale McGee. He would really complement Greg Monroe with athleticism and shot-blocking ability that would make a formidable young frontcourt.

Langlois: Pretty much a moot point, Vance. The Pistons aren’t going to have anywhere near the cap space – even should they exercise the amnesty clause on their biggest contract, Ben Gordon’s – it would take to make an offer for McGee, or any reasonably valuable free agent, for that matter. Remember, McGee is a restricted free agent obtained by Denver at the cost of Nene. Denver’s going to match any reasonable offer for McGee – which makes it iffy that anybody presents a reasonable offer sheet to him.

Donald (Howell, Mich.): Joe Dumars and staff have a passion for taking players with health problems and helping them literally get back on their feet. Have they taken a look at Greg Oden? From what I have read, he needs help and so do the Pistons.

Langlois: Oden recently was quoted as saying he intends to sit out the entire 2012-13 season – he’s felt he has rushed himself back after previous injuries, exacerbating his knee problems – and then give the NBA another try in 2013-14. My guess is he will invite teams to come to his home base and watch him work out when he’s ready to show that he’s back. When that happens, I would expect the Pistons to be as interested as anyone in getting a full assessment of Oden’s readiness.

Paul (Essexville, Mich.): What do you think about trading the 39th and 44th picks for a late first-rounder? Would there be that much discrepancy among the players in those ranges?

Langlois: That’s probably something you wouldn’t do until a player that you really like starts to slip through the second half of the first round toward the bottom. Then you try to project what’s likely to be there at 39 and 44 and target a team you think would be interested in trading out of the first round – maybe a team poised to compete for a title, not likely to get contributions from a late first-round rookie and happy to save the cap space that a guaranteed first-round contract would cost to use in free agency for a veteran more likely to help immediately. So it’s possible to get a trade like the one you suggest done. The question will be if there’s a player who starts to slide that the Pistons like well enough to make them act.

Steven (West Bloomfield, Mich.): The Pistons have no hope of making the playoffs next year. They have to leapfrog two of the nine teams ahead of them without being passed by any of the four who finished behind them with similar records. They will never turn things around as long as they’re obsessed with milking out every last victory by riding limited veterans like Wilkins and Russell. It’s not about “throwing” games but better to take your chances with young guys like Daye and Macklin, who will either rise to the occasion or improve your chances in the lottery. It’s a win-win.

Langlois: This issue has been addressed repeatedly, both in Pistons Mailbag and elsewhere, Steven. Here’s the best response I can give you, both my views and that of Joe Dumars, when he addressed your question in his season-ending press conference on April 27. As for riding veterans like Wilkins and Russell, come on. Austin Daye had plenty of chances this year and never could get it rolling. They haven’t written him off – to the contrary, they admired the way he kept working hard behind the scenes – but continuing to play a sputtering player is a lose-lose, undermining both his confidence and team morale. Russell played a combined 52 minutes in March and April, most when others were injured or to close out games already decided. Macklin got his chance down the stretch and finished strong. Under more typical circumstances, they would have gotten him to the D-League sooner, but his rookie development went about as well as anyone could have hoped for the No. 52 pick. I’m not sure what other young players they could have pushed into more prominent roles. Monroe, Knight, Jerebko, Stuckey … all played major roles. As for “no hope of making the playoffs next year,” Lawrence Frank and his players do not share your pessimism.

J.B. (Montpelier, Ohio): I think Charlotte’s pick at 31 has some good possibilities for the Pistons. Might they be interested in the rights to Kyle Singler for that pick?

Langlois: The first pick of the second round has become a spot that some teams use to target the best European prospect who has no intention of coming immediately to the NBA. In three of the last four years, that’s where Minnesota has taken Nikola Pekovic, Oklahoma City found Tibor Pleiss and New Jersey selected Bogan Bogdanovic, the latter two still playing in Europe. That’s probably the value of that pick, so if Charlotte trades out of 31, it probably will be to a team looking for future assets and willing to give the Bobcats some immediate help. If you’re thinking that Singler would have more value to Charlotte than to other NBA teams because he played collegiately at Duke, the Blue Devils don’t have the same appeal in North Carolina that they do nationally. As for the Pistons, they thought Singler was a first-round talent when they got him at 33 a year ago. It’s a deeper draft this time around, but the fact Singler comfortably exceeded expectations as an American rookie in the Spanish ACB League has NBA teams looking at him in a new light.

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