Foster: Pistons need stone-cold shooter in draft

Terry Foster
The Detroit News
ustise Winslow

With 26 victories, the Pistons are three wins from matching their record of the past two seasons, which cost Lawrence Frank and Maurice Cheeks their jobs.

Is there really a difference with first-year coach Stan Van Gundy?

Q. Why the patience with coach Stan Van Gundy?

A. Every coach is entitled to implement his system, get his players and let it fly.

But did Van Gundy make a mistake believing Reggie Jackson was his point guard of the future? The key question facing Jackson is, can he handle the responsibility playing for a less-talented team than the Thunder?

Van Gundy has a plan, and he's entitled to lay the groundwork before his decisions and coaching are criticized.

Q. So, is Jackson the right guy to lead this team in the future?

A. Not now.

He needs to experience a full training camp with his teammates and go through some tough sessions with assistant coach Tim Hardaway, the master of the crossover dribble when he played in the NBA.

And, he needs time with Van Gundy, who can shape him into the image he wants and allow Jackson to be himself.

Q. If you were Greg Monroe, who becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, would you re-sign with the Pistons?

A. No, unless no other team was offering big money. Monroe wants to compete for championships, and the Pistons have not even sniffed the playoffs in his five years. How can he trust that things will be different under Van Gundy?

Q. The Pistons are five games out of the final playoff spot with 12 games remaining. Is there any reason to believe they can make a late run and sneak into the playoffs?

A. The Pistons are done.

Van Gundy said the team needs to win 11 of its last 12 to get into the playoffs. Plus, they'd need to leap over the Celtics, Pacers and Nets just to catch the eighth-place Hornets.

The Pistons' magic number for elimination is nine, so you can expect a lottery spot again.

Q. Looking ahead to the draft, what do the Pistons need?

A. They need a stone-cold shooter. Maybe Croatian gunner Mario Hezonja, a 6-foot-8 player who fits the Van Gundy mode. He's developed more of an all-around floor game, but his defense is suspect.

Then there's Duke shooting guard Justise Winslow, a freakish athlete who can score in a variety of ways. The problem with him is he doesn't provide a high motor all the time.

Raptors at Pistons

Tip-off: 7:30 Tuesday, The Palace, Auburn Hills


Outlook: The last time the Raptors came to The Palace, they popped the Pistons by 10. ... The Raptors are on a 5-11 run. ... The Raptors are 34-11 when scoring 100 or more.