Vernon Macklin waiting (im)patiently for his opportunity

Vernon Macklin wants to play. The Detroit Pistons fan community wants Vernon Macklin to play. I'm sure all of his teammates want Vernon Macklin to play. But as of now, Vernon Macklin is stuck behind every big man on the roster -- Greg Monroe, Jason Maxiell, Jonas Jerebko, Ben Wallace and the soon-to-return Charlie Villanueva.

That means that Vernon Macklin probably won't play much all season. But even knowing that fact, it seems the 25-year-old rookie is doing and saying all the right things.

Macklin spoke about this trying time to the Detroit News:

"It's kind of what I expected, but who really wants to know for a fact when they get to the next level they aren't going to get any playing time?" Macklin said Saturday night before the Pistons lost to the Grizzlies. "Everybody loves this game, so you want to play the game.

"But it happens and I'm going to keep on getting better."

Macklin has rebounded, and scored effectively and efficiently but has been largely relegated to garbage-time minutes, which can be quite misleading.

Unfortunately, 25-year-olds don't often get much better, and it is no guarantee that the big man returns to the roster next season. In limited minutes he has shown some intriguing ability, and hopefully he gets some extended burn in the closing weeks of the season at the very least.

There is one way Macklin could force his way into playing time -- if the Pistons somehow trade the suddenly effective Jason Maxiell. Big men are always coveted, and Maxiell is playing well enough to be considered by contenders as an extra source of defense, rebounding and energy off the bench.

And if Maxiell is traded, I'm not sure that everyone just gets bumped up one slot in the rotation. It is clear that Jonas Jerebko is best-suited to a role off the bench where his lack of size is less of an issue. It is also clear that head coach Lawrence Frank prefers a superior defender starting alongside Monroe, which takes Villanueva out of the equation. And Ben Wallace just doesn't have the legs to play for a prolonged stretch to start the game.

By process of elimination, it is not inconceivable that Macklin goes from completely out of the rotation to suddenly being an NBA starter in the flash of an eye. Of course, that is all contingent on the Pistons trading Maxiell, and the odds of that happening are much less than 50-50.

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