Pistons Mailbag - Thursday, December 22, 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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Marvin (Richmond, Va.): I see Macklin didnít play in the first preseason game even with all of the foul trouble. How is he doing in practice so far?

Langlois: Canít give you much there, Marvin. Iíve seen about 30 minutes of practice one time and 20 minutes another and Macklin wasnít on the floor very much in those instances, either. I thought he had a pretty impressive nine-minute run against Cleveland the other night, grabbing five rebounds and scoring once inside. Lawrence Frank commented after the game, without being asked specifically about Macklin, that his energy gave the Pistons a lift. Heís lithe and runs well. Heís got a nice frame on him, though heís not as thick as most NBA big men. Frank hasnít said much about him, other than that heís working hard and making progress. I think itís a good bet that he makes the roster this year because it gives the Pistons the whole year to evaluate him on a minimum deal. If heís a great practice player and shows potential as a rebounder and defender, he could stick.

Frank (Milford, Mich.): Do you think the Pistons will keep 15 players on the roster this season?

Langlois: Iíd be surprised if they began the season with a full complement of 15, Frank. It wouldnít surprise me, in fact, if they kept as few as 13, the minimum, just because this year more than ever, there could be many in-season trades given the fact that the entire off-season has been compressed into a few weeks leading into the Dec. 25 season openers. Because of that, teams might want to keep a few extra roster spots available in case two-for-one or three-for-two trades become available. The Pistons currently are at 13 after waiving Walker Russell Jr., Jake Voskuhl and Brian Hamilton. Damien Wilkins is likely to make the final cut if the Pistons donít pick up anyone else, but there could be plenty of moves on the back end of team rosters over the weeks ahead.

Calvin (Detroit): Iíve been reading a lot of fansí questions and responses and it seems as if everybody wants to see new players. I donít know why when we really have a solid group of players who just have to be a little more consistent and step up. Am I the only one who thinks we have a good team?

Langlois: The facts are the facts, Calvin: The Pistons have won 57 games combined the past two seasons, which was about their norm for a single season in a six-year window that preceded the recent tailspin. But there are reasons for optimism, too, starting with Lawrence Frank and his staff; Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight, the last two No. 1 picks who look like franchise cornerstones; and a number of other young veterans around them. I donít know if the playoffs are in their immediate future, but Iím confident that the consensus at seasonís end will be that the Pistons are in a better place than theyíve been recently.

Andre (Detroit): Why havenít the Pistons gone after Samuel Dalembert? He is a big that would afford us a chance to have Greg Monroe play power forward.

Langlois: Just because you havenít heard Joe Dumars talking about specific free agents or seen the Pistons linked in reports to Dalembert doesnít mean they didnít check out his interest. Iíd be surprised, in fact, if that conversation didnít take place. All along, it appeared Dalembert was holding out for more than the mid-level exception Ė and thatís what he wound up getting, from Houston, although only the first year of a two-year deal is fully guaranteed.

Chuck (Taylor, Mich.): What about a trade of Daye to Golden State for Ekpe Udoh? Golden State has a surplus of big men and needs wings. Daye isnít likely to have much impact with Detroit.

Langlois: That might have been a trade that would have interested both sides, or at least been the starting point for discussion, but now that Golden State has shipped Lou Amundsen to Indiana for Brandon Rush, there isnít really a surplus of bigs in Golden State any longer. And Rush, while not exactly a clone of Daye, is somebody capable of giving the Warriors minutes at shooting guard and small forward and a perimeter scoring threat. But Daye has scored 18 and 19 points in two preseason games. That type of scoring punch is pretty valuable. I think Lawrence Frank would probably be reluctant to give up such a versatile scorer, though the Pistons would love to add another big man who projects as a plus defender.

Peter (Jackson, Mich.): Why does the front office still believe in Ben Gordon? Why donít we trade him for a serviceable big man like Paul Millsap? Then we could move Stuckey to his proper position, shooting guard.

Langlois: Itís not just the front office that continues to believe that Ben Gordon, at 28, can be the player who averaged about 20 points a game and shot a steady 40 percent from the 3-point line over the first five years of his NBA career in Chicago. Lawrence Frank is a big Gordon booster and remembers the Gordon who would so often close out games for the Bulls before Derrick Rose arrived and the focus of the offense shifted to him. If Gordon, as expected, winds up as the Pistonsí starter at point guard, I suspect Frank is going to craft plenty of plays to free him for jump shots and opportunities to make plays. Judging Gordon before a fresh start in a system Gordon clearly believes better suits his abilities would be imprudent. All of that said, if the Pistons were presented with a trade offer that Joe Dumars felt brought back equal talent and helped the Pistons fortify the frontcourt without having negative long-term ramifications on the salary cap, trading Gordon, or pretty much anyone, wouldnít be off limits, I suspect.

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