Pistons Mailbag - Thursday, April 5, 2012

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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Joel (Grand Rapids, Mich.): If the Pistons get lucky enough to get the No. 2 or 3 pick, what do you think it would take to get the No. 1 pick? Would a trade of Daye or Singler and the draft pick be enough?

Langlois: Some years, maybe. This year? The gulf between Anthony Davis and whoever the No. 2 pick might be Ė or, more accurately put, the gulf between Anthony Davisí perceived value and the perceived value of the No. 2 pick Ė is significant. So what would it take? Well, if you held the winning Powerball ticket, what would it take for you to swap it for a ticket that had five of the matching numbers? Yeah, thatís what weíre talking about here. Nobody that wins the No. 1 pick is going to trade it for the No. 2 pick. Remember when Jack McCloskey offered the entire Pistons roster for Magic Johnson? Well, if Charlotte gets the No. 2 pick, Iím not sure Charlotteís entire roster plus the No. 2 pick would move the team that gets the No. 1 pick to swap.

Simon (Leopold, Australia): Weíve seen a lot of focus on players coming out of college that would suit Pistons needs, but is there another player on the international scene the Pistons would consider looking at?

Langlois: Even as early as last May and June, when the 2011 draft class was taking shape, it was already being projected that the 2012 draft would be light on international talent. Itís possible that no one who didnít play American college basketball will be a first-round pick this season. But the Pistons figure to have two No. 2 picks, their own and Houstonís, and itís certainly possible that they will spend one or both of them on international players. The most recent mock draft projection from Draftexpress.com, for example, lists eight international players as second-round picks.

Nick (Harrison Twp., Mich.): If the Pistons draft Jared Sullinger, it would give us one of the best rebounding tandems in the NBA but among the worst shot-blocking defenses. What are your thoughts on John Henson?

Langlois: You have to take everything into consideration before exercising a top-10 pick, Nick, and how Sullinger would fit next to Greg Monroe would be a big one. Youíre right that neither is a major shot-blocking threat. But that canít be a deal breaker if Sullinger, judged on what he can and cannot do, is clearly the best alternative at the time the Pistons make their pick. As Lawrence Frank has told me a few times this season, a team doesnít have to block shots to be elite defensively. There are many other ways to prevent teams from getting good shots. Even if the Pistons were ultimately to decide that Monroe and Sullinger were not an optimal pairing, it would be best to have Sullinger as an asset than a lesser player as they go about deciding how to better the team.

Marshall (Detroit): Steve Nash will be a free agent this summer, so this will be his last year with the Suns. If Joe Dumars were to get Nash, would he make the Pistons playoff contenders again?

Langlois: You can probably limit the list of potential legitimate Nash suitors to a handful, Marshall, and Miami and New York would likely be at the top of the list. If Nash is willing to play for a salary-cap exception slot, those two will be serious players. It wouldnít surprise me if he winds up staying in Phoenix, though, if heís convinced the Suns have the wherewithal and the intention of playing for titles soon. Nash also said this week that his back feels great and he intends to play three more seasons, so whether he does last that long or not, his choice of a landing spot might not be based so thoroughly on next seasonís title hopes as we might have previously assumed. But I think itís fair to say the Pistons would be very long shots to enter the Nash bidding.

James (Detroit): Andrew Nicholson of St. Bonaventure and Meyers Leonard of Illinois are two really nice players that perhaps Joe Dumars could tab for the second round. Meyers has some of the sickest passing skills Iíve seen in quite some time. And Nicholson can put the ball in the basket. Whatís your take on these guys?

Langlois: Unless something about Leonard is discovered between now and late June, itís hard to envision him getting out of the first round, James. He wasnít a consistent producer for Illinois, but his size and athleticism alone make him a player that even lottery teams will have to study hard. Nicholson is a more realistic second-round target, though he very well could push himself up much higher, perhaps even the late teens of the first round. He was consistently productive in college and appears to have the size and skills to play power forward in the NBA.

Jeremy (Kewadin, Mich.): What do you think of Kansas center Jeff Withey? Would he be a good addition to the Pistons?

Langlois: Withey is an interesting case, Jeremy, a player who is 22 yet really hasnít had a lot of playing experience in college due to a season lost to transfer and then sitting behind the Morris twins and Thomas Robinson a season ago before logging big minutes as a Kansas junior. He doesnít offer much offensively at the NBA level, so scouts will have to be good at projecting what his skill set could potentially yield. Heís got a good frame on him and appears more than athletic enough. Heís got terrific shot-blocking instincts. If he decides to enter the 2012 draft, I would have to think that teams looking for a developmental big guy would consider him at any point from the late first round on. The Pistons are almost certain to have two second-rounders this season, so you could add him to a long list of prospects to file away as possibilities for them.

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