Pistons Mailbag - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - Page 2

by Keith Langlois
Web Editor

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.

We reserve the right to edit your question for the sake of brevity or clarity.

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Devin (Flint, Mich.): If the Pistons have a chance to draft Thomas Robinson, could they use him at small forward? I’ve been watching a lot of Robinson and see that he is about the same size as LeBron James and could develop as a star small forward. Why do draft experts list him as a power forward?

Langlois: LeBron James is a freak of nature, Devin. His speed and agility on such a massive and strong frame are among the qualities that make him an all-time great player. It’s dangerous to compare anyone to him based on frame, in much the same way no one should expect anybody 6-foot-7 and 210 – Dennis Rodman’s size – to lead the NBA in rebounding for seven straight years, as Rodman did. Robinson is a power forward all the way. He can handle the ball well enough to dribble downcourt after grabbing rebounds, but I haven’t seen him do anything more off the dribble in half-court settings than one or two bounces leading to a jump shot or a post move. His shooting range got much better this season, which is an important step in his development and a big reason he’ll go in the top five – meaning the Pistons aren’t going to have a shot at him unless they pull a top-three pick.

Erges (Tirana, Albania): How serious is Rodney Stuckey’s injury? Would it be wise to shut him down for the rest of the season like some teams are doing with their players?

Langlois: He banged knees, Erges. That’s intensely painful for a few minutes because you jar the femoral nerve – I got this from Arnie Kander – and it feels like a bad toothache for a few minutes. But once the nerve ending is soothed, you’re fine. He might have a little bruising, but it’s nothing that will keep him out of games. The Pistons decided to play it cautiously in the second half at Orlando because Stuckey didn’t come out of the locker room in time to go through the layup line. Kander wanted to see him run on the leg before clearing him to return.

David (Saginaw, Mich.): We know the Heat, Thunder, Bulls, Spurs and a couple of others have legitimate shots at winning the NBA championship. What is your thought about teams like the Pacers, Rockets, Clippers, Grizzlies and some of these other teams having good but not great years? Which of them do you think can contend?

Langlois: The only one I think has the potential to win multiple series is Memphis, David. Getting Zach Randolph back with several weeks remaining in the season was key for the Grizzlies. It gives him enough time to get back in the flow of things and gives Lionel Hollins and his teammates enough time to adjust to his presence and its affect on the Memphis offense. That team has pretty good depth and plays first-rate defense. They proved last year to be a tough out. If they had one more decent rotation big man, I’d really like their position. Can’t see anybody else making much noise.

Hevvy (Harper Woods, Mich.): If Kyle Singler does not come back to the NBA will the Pistons still own his draft rights? Why wouldn’t he come to play in the NBA? Is it because he doesn’t want to play for the Pistons?

Langlois: There’s never been a suggestion that Singler’s decision to play in Spain had anything to do with dissatisfaction over his NBA rights belonging to the Pistons. Singler has gone against convention before. It was widely assumed he would leave Duke well before completing his college eligibility, but he stuck it out for all four years because he thoroughly enjoyed the college lifestyle. He has not only tolerated European culture – as many American-born players do to earn a living and try to catch the attention of NBA teams – he has embraced the lifestyle and become a very popular player there. Yes, the Pistons will own Singler’s NBA rights as long as they choose to keep them and there’s no reason for them to renounce those rights anytime in the foreseeable future. We should know more on Singler as the summer goes on, but he’s had a very good rookie season in the Spanish ACB league, which in itself is extremely rare for a first-year American player. I’ve done a little poking around to see what type of contract a player of Singler’s age and production could expect in Europe based on his play this year – and it’s tough to get a relevant comparison because what Singler is doing at his age and with his background as an American college player is so very rare – and the best guess I can give you is that it would translate to somewhere north of $2 million a year, and more than that, really, because the money is tax free. What that really means is Singler is going to have to want to play in the NBA, because it might be tough to pay him in dollars what he could earn in Europe in euros based on his value overseas.

Steve (Northport, Mich.): What do you think of Draymond Green? He seems to have a lot of upside s a power forward? Where do you see him getting drafted?

Langlois: On paper, the odds are stacked against him. If Green measures around 6-foot-5 at the Chicago predraft camp – and that’s probably going to be the ballpark number – then there will be many teams that, while saluting all the good work he did at Michigan State, are going to red flag him as a player without an NBA position. But there will be a number of teams who’ll look at his production at MSU and take to heart the glowing recommendations they’ll get on him from Tom Izzo – a much-respected voice among NBA executives – and be willing to take a flyer on him. If one of those teams is picking in the 20s and misses out on other players it really likes, I can see Green sliding into the first round to play for a coach who will focus on what he can do – and devise ways to put him in positions where it’s Green who presents matchups problems – rather than on what shortcomings he might have. His personality is going to count for a great deal. When you’re filling out the back end of your roster, you want selfless players like Green coming off the bench.

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