Pistons Mailbag - Thursday, May 19, 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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Donna (Southfield, Mich.): Bad luck at the lottery, but if Biyombo is still there with the No. 8 pick, why take Tristan Thompson? We need a defensive presence in the paint. Whether Biyombo is 18 or 21, he has all the size and athleticism to be that elite defender. I donít think we need another undersized power forward.

Langlois: If youíre referring to the abbreviated mock draft I put together minutes after the lottery results were made known, Donna, then I had Biyombo gone before the Pistons picked. If both Biyombo and Thompson are available when the Pistons go to select at No. 8, I suspect theyíll get full consideration Ė and Iím nearly certain that at this point Joe Dumars and his inner circle would not be ready to make a call one way or the other. Vice president Scott Perry and scouting director Doug Ash were both at the Nike Hoop Summit in April and saw him there, but theyíll need to pore over every available game tape of the 14 he played in the Spanish ACB league over the second half of that season and hopefully theyíll get a chance to see him work out in Treviso, Italy June 11-13 at the Reebok Eurocamp. As for Thompson, I donít know that heís an undersized power forward. The measurements Iíve consistently seen for him are 6-foot-8 with a 7-foot-2 wing span. While 6-foot-8 might be an inch or two under the ideal at that spot, a 7-foot-2 wing span effectively makes him taller than that. I assume those measurements came out of the 2010 Nike Hoop Summit. And Iíve heard more than once now that Thompson is likely taller than 6-foot-8. So you can bet that NBA scouts, and none more than the Pistons, will be very interested to see what the measurements say about Thompson at the Chicago draft combine this week.

Josh (Boston): Sources close to the Timberwolves are reported to have said that GM David Kahn is open to moving the second pick in exchange for a veteran player. Considering they have a need at shooting guard, do you think they would be interested in a trade that sends Rip Hamilton, Terrico White and the No. 8 pick for Martell Webster, Nikola Pekovic and the No. 2 pick?

Langlois: We canít know Minnesotaís level of interest in such a deal, Josh, but the lines of communication are clearly open between the two teams. Tony Ronzone left the Pistonsí front office about a year ago at this time for the promotion to Minnesotaís assistant GM. Itís been acknowledged that the teams had fairly intense and prolonged discussions in the weeks leading to last Juneís draft as Minnesota was looking both to move up from No. 4 (to No. 2 and get the chance to draft Evan Turner) and down. The Pistons were interested in moving up to get a shot at DeMarcus Cousins. It would be very unlikely that Hamiltonís name wasnít discussed prominently in the course of those conversations. But with Wesley Johnson on board, Minnesota might see his future at shooting guard. I certainly would not rule out Minnesota interest in Hamilton Ė or any established perimeter scorer Ė but I donít know that if an agreement wasnít reached last year if it would be any more likely this time around.

Tiba (Detroit): I was hoping for better luck in the draft. Iím not a fan of the tweener and this draft is filled with them. Do you think Biyombo will be available at eight? What do you think of Darius Morris? And how do you rank Kawhi Leonard?

Langlois: Flip a coin on Biyombo. It will be up to individual lottery teams how to get a gauge on him. How much weight do they put on 14 games, where he averaged 17 minutes a game, in the Spanish ACB? There are other players in this draft with flimsy resumes Ė Kyrie Irving played 11 games at Duke and Enes Kanter hasnít played an organized game since April 2010. But those two players have been known to NBA scouts for at least two years. Theyíve done plenty of homework on them already. Theyíd like more game tape to study, but they are at least familiar with who they think they are as players. Biyombo only came on the radar in the last two months. I like Morris Ė Iíve written he reminds me of Andre Miller and Iíve seen others make that comparison. But so much of Millerís game is smarts and subtlety and those traits are difficult for many to project. I would have a tough time spending a lottery pick on Leonard. And thatís not a criticism of him, just an admission that I havenít seen enough of him. When I have, I have a difficult time figuring out how he fits in the NBA. Heís a prototypical small forward physically, but he played almost exclusively like a power player in college.

Roberto (Rome, Italy): Who is the better prospect of the Morris twins? Who meets team needs better? I think Marcus is the better scorer, though Iím not sure he can score enough inside, and Markieff is more of a power forward/center with rebounding ability.

Langlois: The conversation surrounding the Morris twins reminds me of the one that took place over the Lopez twins three years ago. Brook was the more skilled player coming out of Stanford with the bigger numbers, but in the buildup to the draft there were several suggestions that some NBA evaluators actually liked Robin better because of his greater potential as a rebounder and defender. Brook, of course, went before Robin and has had the clearly superior NBA career to date, though Robin has shown flashes of also becoming an effective starting center. Marcus is the more skilled Morris and has put up bigger numbers dating to high school and through their three years together at Kansas, but there are some whispers that Markieff Ė because heís a little bigger and perhaps a little more physical Ė is preferred by a minority of NBA scouts and GMs. If the twins were deemed to have equal NBA potential, then Markieff might be the one who would be a more logical fit for the Pistons. Iíve assumed Marcus would be the one to get priority consideration from the Pistons simply because the few people Iíve talked to outside the organization who have seen both players think Marcus will be the better pro.

Paolo (Florence, Italy): If the Pistons are really going to pick a big man in the first round, does that mean they wonít draft Keith Benson or Jordan Williams in the second round if theyíre available? I think both players will be too good to pass in the second round.

Langlois: Joe D said after Tuesday nightís lottery result that it wasnít a slam dunk that the Pistons would go big in the first round, but itís more likely than not. Iíve written recently that itís my belief that if the Pistons go big in the first round Ė as I expect Ė they would probably prefer to draft someone in the second round who could challenge for playing time at small forward. But you are right, Paolo, to suggest that Benson and Williams are two players Ė JaJuan Johnson and Nikola Vucevic are two others Ė who would represent good value and might be still available early in the second round. Iím not sure there will be as many options at small forward of similar quality Ė but it only takes one player a team really likes at that spot to make a match.

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