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The Big Question: Chris Wilcox

With a cloud uncertainty thunder-storming, snowing and hailing on the Detroit Pistons, we wanted our Pistons preview series to capture that. So for each Piston, Patrick Hayes and I will identify and explain what we each see as the biggest question surrounding him entering the season.

DF: Is he a PINO?

PINO is Piston In Name Only. He doesn’t play much. His teammates and coaches don’t talk about him. Does he practice with the team? Could 80 percent of his teammates pick him out of a crowd? Does he have any emotional attachment to the franchise, and vice-versa.

OK, I wrote the above paragraph before Vincent Goodwill’s glowing report. But with news that Wilcox’s hamstring will keep him out of tonight’s preseason opener against the Miami Heat, I still think there’s a solid chance this is the last meaningful news you hear about Wilcox as a Piston.

PH: Can he be traded?

If John Kuester is trying to foster a renewed focus on defense, Chris Wilcox can’t see court time. The Pistons were much worse defensively when he played last season, and with Greg Monroe added to the frontcourt mix, the team has even less incentive to play him. The question is whether Wilcox, who didn’t show much of anything last year, can show enough to entice a team to take him off the Pistons hands.


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  • Oct 5, 20104:41 pm
    by Laser


    chris wilcox is making things difficult. look at our inactive list. life was so simple when you could safely pencil summers, white and wilcox there and take them shopping for nice suits.
    sure terrico white was an unlikely pick by the pistons, another combo guard in the mold of stuckey, considered a first round talent, by all accounts the most athletic rookie in the league. seems a shame to pick him when several big men worth a gamble were available only to leave him in street clothes. frankly, it stands to reason that with one season of reasonable minutes he should be better than stuckey.
    and summers has to be the unluckiest professional athlete on the planet. all the physical tools to be a stud, looks like he has the right attitude, everything i’ve ever seen him do has looked good. certainly looks like he needs a chance, but he’s buried hopelessly behind players who may not be any better than him just because. surely he’ll get the afflalo treatment and be shipped off for a bag of peanuts to kick ass for another team while we waste big money on players we don’t need.
    wilcox, at least, looked like the easiest name to put on that list. we took a chance on him (and gave up a helluva lot for a guy making $3 million, considering we simply gave away afflalo and amir johnson to get him), and it didn’t work out. bad defender, didn’t provide the intensity we needed. a few nice connections with bynum, but just another name on our list of mediocre big men. and an expiring name at that.
    so if wilcox pushes his way into the rotation, WHO TAKES HIS SPOT ON THE INACTIVE LIST? that’s the question i’ve been asking. it sure as sh*t won’t be stuckey or bynum (our point play is thin enough as it is), gordon or rip (we ain’t paying these guys $10+ million to sit), prince (even if you don’t consider him our best player, which you should, we have to showcase him and establish value if we want to turn him into something useful at the deadline) or t-mac (fat f*cking chance he was signed to sit, even if it’s the best choice). it won’t be jerebko or wallace (perhaps the two best examples of traditional tough detroit-style players). no matter the situation, i can’t imagine you don’t suit up charlie v (he’s just too good an offensive weapon and gives you such a different look and the best scoring potential of your bigs). in a way i think if you want to keep flexibility in games, he might be the last guy you’d ever put in street clothes, no matter how much of a bum be is most nights; you gotta leave yourself that option if you need points in a hurry. feel free to argue, but i don’t think a single one of those is in consideration for the inactive list. and i’m assuming we’re at full health, or else this is not a problem at all.
    so who does that leave? maxiell, daye and monroe. monroe and daye could be the two guys you might actually be able to legitimately build around. daye might have a year of development left before he’s a rotation staple, but he’ll never get that development sitting courtside in a tux. ditto for monroe, who is also desperately needed because of our dearth of offensive big men. in the NBA’s weakest frontcourt, i don’t think you can afford to keep such an intriguing player in armani. and maxiell could very well be your most consistent and reliable frontcourt option. he’s a veteran, good for energy and hustle, toughness, defense, blocks some shots, offensive boards and put-backs. i’ve heard his mid-range jumper’s been looking good. this guy could be on the active roster of absolutely any team in the league.
    so maybe this is all a bunch of noise and wilcox goes nowhere. that’s the safe bet, but he did look decent at open practice. and he’s technically our “shaq insurance” dale davis type of guy, or the closest thing we could throw at a big center. maybe he’s only active against particularly big front lines. so it’s probably a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing. but if not, what do we do?
    smart bet is we make another bogus trade just to unload some talent for nothing. dumars is amazing at those kinds of trades. i just don’t see how your inactive list can include names like daye, monroe or maxiell. i just don’t get it. we’ve got 14-15 guys who can play, but nobody stands out. nobody. this is going to be a looooong season. february can’t come soon enough.

  • Oct 5, 201010:09 pm
    by detroitpcb


    Prince is Detroit’s best player at the current time, which says what we have always known: Detroit has no superstars on its roster. Daye is probably a year away from becomeing a rotation staple (and a potential all star), but my preference is to see him play the two. Greg Monroe is going to be a nice player in this league. He is like Daye last year in that he will need a year to get stronger – though i suspect he will be more consistent in what he gives you this year and less likely to make mistakes than Daye was last year. He will be a solid four for years in this league and a lineup of Daye, Prince, and Monroe would not be bad if we had the big and the point to go with them.

    Both Ben Gordon and CV were mistakes. Cv could turn into a great 6th man if both his conditioning and commitment to defense remain a focus. Gordon should simply be traded. ditto for Rip. One of the two should bring back a servicable big who can rebound, defen, block shots, and occasionally score in the post. McGrady is an unknown but in the short term if Daye cannot handle the two you can always slid Stuckey over and play Will or White at the point.

    Wilcox will never be a good defender. I hope they are just talking him up in order to trade him. J-Max needs to go. He has value to the right team. His post and midrange game is solid. He can hit that turnaround. Obviously he can hit the offensive glass. And for being severely undersized, he is an ok defender, though a very poor defensive rebounder.

    Basically, the Pistons have a bunch of above average plsyers. Without a trade for a big (especially if Ben Wallace goes down for any reason) the Pistons will be pushed to win 35 games. I predict Joe makes a trade before the deadline (if the new ownership keeps him as GM, which i expect they will) and I predict that Q gets fired after the season. To be honest, he has been dealt a tough hand with all the interchangable parts and the lack of defensive presence in the middle but personally i don’t hink he has a clue how to design an offense for these players. And wasn’t that supposed to be his strong point coming over from Cleveland?

  • Oct 5, 201011:02 pm
    by Patrick Hayes



    “Gordon should simply be traded. ditto for Rip. One of the two should bring back a servicable big who can rebound, defen, block shots, and occasionally score in the post.”

    I couldn’t disagree more with this. When has a limited scoring wing player, of which the league has an abundance, ever brought back a defensively talented big man who can score, of which there are only a handful in the league, in return? You can find a Ben Gordon or Rip Hamilton anywhere. Why would any non-insane team give up a good big man for either?

  • Oct 6, 20101:55 am
    by Laser


    @hayes: your argument is flawless, and a perfect reason not to give guys like that contracts like that. let alone TWO of them on the same team. it is INSANE and UNFORGIVABLE to give a couple of non-all star shooting guards (who don’t look likely to be able to play together) rich, long-term contracts. the first thing we did in this “rebuilding” process was lock up two MAJOR liabilities at the same position, a position where you should never overspend. especially not this badly.
    as long as these two guys are on the roster we’re badly handcuffed. i don’t think we’ll get much for either, if we can dump them at all, but something’s got to give.

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