Pistons Mailbag - Monday, April 18, 2011

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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Drew (Waterford, Mich.): Who are the top three prospects the Pistons are most interested in drafting this year?

Langlois: Two ways to answer that, Drew. If the Pistons draw into the top three in the May 17 lottery Ė theyíll have a 15 percent chance of getting one of those picks Ė then the pick probably will come down to Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams or one of the two European big men, Enes Kanter or Jonas Valanciunas. Some think Harrison Barnes might also be in the mix should he choose to leave North Carolina for the NBA. Itís not likely any of those players will be around if the Pistons wind up choosing seventh or eighth, where they have about an 83 percent shot to land, though if Valanciunas makes teams leery about his ability or willingness to leave Europe for the NBA next season, he could start to slide (and, in which case, the Pistons would share those concerns). Youíll hear the names of Kemba Walker, Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones, Alec Burks, Bismarck Biyombo and perhaps Kansasí Morris twins, Marcus and Markieff.

Josh (Perth, Australia): Iíve seen it written that Joe Dumars has named Stuckey, Monroe, Daye and Jerebko as the future core. How good do you see each player becoming at the peak of their primes? I think Stuckey and Monroe have All-Star potential if they continue to improve.

Langlois: I wonít disagree with your assessment of Stuckey and Monroeís potential, Josh, although the guard corps in the Eastern Conference is thick with present or potential All-Stars with Derrick Rose, Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo likely clogging the point guard spots for years and John Wall lurking. I thought Stuckey made significant strides this season in being more selective picking his spots to take it to the basket and as a playmaker. I still donít buy that he canít be an effective point guard, especially in an offense designed to spread playmaking responsibilities. Barring a transaction that brings a point guard to the roster, I expect Stuckey will go into next season as the starter at that spot. For Stuckey to elevate his play to be considered on the cusp of joining those elite Eastern guards, he needs to play consistently as he did over the seasonís final several weeks. His last five games, in particular, were clearly All-Star caliber. He averaged 25.6 points and 9.4 assists, made better than half of his field goals and got to the foul line more than nine times a game. Monroe almost certainly will be a bigger part of the offense next season Ė the Pistons simply did not run plays for him this season Ė and that will give him the opportunity to put up bigger scoring numbers. If thereís one thing Monroe proved in his rookie year, itís that his game wonít stand still; heíll keep improving. Daye has the potential to score 20 points a game; heís a unique and gifted scorer. Jerebko was crushed when the Achilles tendon injury cost him the season, in part because he was so looking forward to proving that he had more to offer than he showed as a rookie. If we can look back a year from now and say all four of those players took significant strides in 2011-12, the Pistonsí playoff drought should end at two.

Marcus (Birmingham, Ala.): Many were surprised when the Pistons didnít make any moves at the trade deadline this year. Many reports cited Joe Dumarsí belief that he could get greater value for Tayshaun Prince after the season via a sign-and-trade deal. Do you believe that and, if so, do you think a deal for a ďone foot out the doorĒ big man like Chris Kaman or Al Jefferson would be possible?

Langlois: We donít know what Joe Dumars knows, Marcus. He might have a concrete reason to believe that there is a team (or teams) out there that covets Prince in free agency and an equally good idea of what each potential Prince landing spot would be willing to deal away to facilitate the signing. Or he might just have a general sense that because Prince is such a versatile player and could be a fit in so many places that there will be a heated market for him that could benefit the Pistons. It might also be that he at least wanted to maintain the option of retaining Prince for the Pistons if he has other moves in mind that would help the Pistons in other areas.

Brent (Madison, Wis.): Just wondering, if the lockout lasts a year, what would that do to the 2012 draft? Will they use the draft order that they used in 2011 for the 2012 draft, as well? The 2012 draft is supposed to be much better than 2011, so if the lockout lasts a year it could benefit the Pistons Ė not that we want to go a year without basketball.

Langlois: I donít think it will come to bear, but if there was no 2011-12 season, then the NBA would have to devise the guidelines that would govern the 2012 draft once a new CBA is put into place. There is no precedent for it in NBA history. When the NHL had its season wiped out, it went to a weighted lottery that included all 30 teams. But the best teams had very long odds of landing the top pick. Something similar would be a likelihood for the NBA. What isnít very likely is merely repeating the order of the 2011 lottery.

Anderson (Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago): If the Pistons stay at No. 7, do you see them taking Jeremy Tyler at 7 or 33?

Langlois: Tyler hasnít done much in his two years, one in Israel and one in Japan, to give anyone much confidence in his NBA future, Anderson. Two of the more credible draft sites, Draftexpress.com and ESPN.com, have him rated 70th and 89th, respectively. I simply havenít heard his name mentioned in my conversations with NBA personnel evaluators. I suspect if the Pistons are interested in him, their pick at 52 would be enough to land him, though heíll have his chance to change opinions in the predraft process.

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