Pistons mailbag: What to do if keep, lose first-round pick?

Less than three percent.That’s the chance the Pistons have of hitting the NBA Draft lottery on Tuesday night. They’ll need to have more luck than anything else to move up. After a 39-43 record, the Pistons earned the No. 12 pick in the first round of the draft.As part the trade for Blake Griffin, the Pistons will send the pick to the Los Angeles Clippers unless they move into the top three – and there’s a small chance of that. There’s no other good-luck charm; there’s only that small-percentage chance of moving up and keeping the selection.Luke Kennard, the Pistons’ pick at No. 12 last season, will represent the team on the stage on the television broadcast from Chicago. Last week, the Pistons parted ways with coach/team president Stan Van Gundy but general manager Jeff Bower will head the front office during this week’s draft combine in Chicago.The Pistons also will have a second-round pick (42nd overall) to try to fill a need.The direction of the front office and the draft prospects are among the topics in this week’s Pistons mailbag:■ Question: If the Pistons finish top 3 in the Lottery… Do you foresee any players from other teams as trade targets? Or do u think they will keep the pick? -@misterandydLet’s talk hypothetically, say we won the lottery who are we taking with a pick that lands at no.3. -@TheRealSugar99■ Answer: In the unlikely event that the Pistons jump into the top three in the lottery, they’d have their choice of the cream of the crop. The problem is that the best prospects – center DeAndre Ayton, wing Luka Doncic and forward Marvin Bagley – all seem to be at positions where they’re already set. The best guess is they’d take a hard look at Doncic, but the better move might be to trade out of the pick and garner more assets.Financially, the Pistons are committed at point guard, center and power forward; the biggest areas of need are at the wing positions. Two of their last three first-round picks – Kennard and Stanley Johnson – are wings.More: Pistons can take some cues from NBA’s biggest winners■ Q: Assuming we don’t beat the odds and keep the pick, what would be the ideal step in the right direction this offseason? -@ThatGuyGayle■ A: The ideal step would be getting a solid team president, general manager and head coach and steering the franchise in the right direction. The roster is pretty much going to stay the same, so getting everything else aligned is critical.Building a front office and coaching staff is a monumental task for a summer and although the current figures will remain on the job until June 30, there might be some holdovers to help maintain continuity from one group to the next.