Pistons Mailbag - Thursday, May 31, 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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Akshay (Minneapolis): What do you think about making Brandon Knight the No. 3 guard, backing up both spots, and getting a true passer as the starting point guard? Knight could be a Jason Terry/Mo Williams type of player and he would thrive and we could get a good passer in the draft like Machado or trade for someone.

Langlois: The Pistons already have a Jason Terry/Mo Williams type, Akshay – Ben Gordon. Trades are always possible to shake up the mix, but with issues to address in areas of frontcourt size and depth and wing athleticism, I don’t think the Pistons are going to make it a priority to look for a point guard that meets some abstract ideal of “pure” point guard. The Pistons are genuinely and deeply enthused about Knight’s future. Joe Dumars has long held that he doesn’t get wrapped up in pigeon-holing players as “point guards” and “shooting guards” and Lawrence Frank was every bit as emphatic last year in a similar perspective. Knight and Rodney Stuckey are highly likely to be the starting backcourt next season with Gordon off the bench unless he’s included in trade. It would be a huge leap of faith to believe Machado, a legitimate prospect but generally thought to be a late first- or early second-round pick, would be an upgrade over Knight.

James (Seattle): There is a perception the Pistons, who will have to massage their roster a bit for next season to get the likes of Singler or Macklin active, would spend one of their second-rounders on a foreign player and stash them overseas. I don’t understand why that player has to be an international prospect and I don’t understand why we wouldn’t stash them in the D-League instead where we could call them up if needed. Is there a difference financially between having a player on your D-League roster vs. sending them overseas?

Langlois: If the Pistons have a strong sense that they’ll be able to bring Singler back from Europe next season, then he would join their lottery pick and, presumably, the first of their two second-round 2012 picks on the 2012-13 roster. At that point, maybe they would be reluctant to commit a roster spot to a fourth rookie. But you’re absolutely right – they wouldn’t necessarily be looking at an international prospect with the 44th pick, merely a player who would be open to spending next season playing internationally. As for the second part of your question, yes, there is a financial difference between stashing a player in the D-League or in Europe. And not just a financial difference. If the Pistons draft a player with the intention of having him spend the entire season in the D-League, they still have to commit one of their 15 roster spots – and at least a rookie minimum salary, which counts against the salary cap whether that player is with the Pistons or in the D-League – to that player.

Raghav (Gurgaon, India): Both Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen are aging and their contracts are up. What do you think is the likelihood of Boston wanting to trade for Ben Gordon?

Langlois: Boston could go any number of ways, Raghav, but I think the Celtics believe they have their starting shooting guard of the future in Avery Bradley. If they decide not to heavily pursue their own free agents, Garnett and Allen, then I think Danny Ainge’s likeliest course is to target free agents or trade for players on expiring contracts so he can be the biggest player in free agency, perhaps, in the summer of 2013.

Blake (Dallas): Even though he is a restricted free agent, will the Pistons make a run at Roy Hibbert?

Langlois: Barring preposterously improbable scenarios, the Pistons won’t have cap space of any kind – and certainly not the kind that it would take to interest Hibbert in signing an offer sheet. I suppose there might be a team out there that would throw enough money at him to get the Pacers to think twice about matching, but the likelihood is that Hibbert and the Pacers find a middle ground and sign a long-term extension. Worst case for Indiana, he takes the qualifying offer and becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Joshua (Moore, Okla.): Do you believe Monroe is better suited to center or power forward and does it even matter in today’s league where the four and five are so interchangeable? How will this affect Joe D’s decision in the draft and how do you think Jared Sullinger would pair up with Greg?

Langlois: My sense is that the Pistons are comfortable with Monroe at either spot. The question isn’t so much whether Monroe is a better fit at center or power forward but how he meshes with the other frontcourt starter. Of the players we expect to be within the Pistons’ range at No. 9, Monroe likely would be the center if he were to be paired with John Henson, Perry Jones, Terrence Jones, Jared Sullinger or Arnett Moultrie. He’d probably be the power forward if the Pistons were to pair him with Tyler Zeller or Meyers Leonard. The Pistons have to consider how Monroe fits with any of those players, but more than anything they have to be concerned with the merits of the player they draft. Put another way, I fully get why there are questions about how Monroe and Sullinger would mesh, given concerns about Sullinger’s lateral quickness and ability to defend mobile power forwards. But if the Pistons believe Sullinger will be the best player of the bunch down the road, that should trump everything else.

Jasper (Makati, Philippines): Why are the Pistons not included in the Las Vegas Summer League since so many other NBA teams are going to be there?

Langlois: Lawrence Frank had a comfort level with the summer league held at the Orlando Magic’s practice facility based on his experiences there while coaching both in New Jersey and Boston. It was as simple as that – he likes the Orlando environment.

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