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Look for Jonas Jerebko to edge Charlie Villanueva for starting PF spot

I’m pretty confident, barring injury, the Pistons’ opening-night starting lineup will be:

But if there’s one position up for grabs, it’s power forward. Jerebko was a better player last year and likely a better complement the other four projected starters. Charlie Villanueva has greater potential and may have put in better (if not more) work this summer.

So much attention has been paid to the logjam on the  wing, deservedly so. It’s the deepest, most talented and most accomplished part of the team. Everyone recognizes that if not handled properly, the minute breakdown could have disastrous effects on and off the court.

But for John Kuester, managing the power forward situation, might also take a delicate touch.

Jerebko earned a huge role last season because he worked hard and played smartly. But he also received minutes because of the Pistons’ injuries. If he doesn’t see as many minutes with everyone healthy, how would he take that?

“Of course, it’s fun to start,” Jerebko said. “But I mean, I’m just trying to get on the court and help the team. And of course I want to keep starting, and I’m going to work for it, too.”

Villanueva also wants to start. As I’ve written before, I think Villanueva fancies himself a better player than he is. More than anything, starting raises a player’s profile and gives him a higher status in the league.

“It’s very important,” Villanueva said. “It’s important to me to just be on the court. I think I can bring so much to this team, and last year it was hard for me with the injuries, and that limited me to do some of those things. I’m feeling healthy. I feel 100 percent. So, I’m excited to be on the court.”

Really, I think both players would be fine coming off the bench, as long as they still get consistent minutes. But I’m not sure of that. Either could sulk.

I’m glad both want to start. I’d have a problem if they didn’t.

The wing players battling for minutes will be a storyline all season, unless Detroit makes a trade. But right now, I think the power forward situation is the most intriguing.

I also think Kuester offered a clue at Pistons media day yesterday about who will start.

“Piston basketball is playing defense, grinding things out, making sure you execute on offense, setting great screens,” Kuester said. “… It isn’t always the most talented team, as opposed to the team that plays best together.”

Who does that sound like to you?

4 Comments

  • Sep 28, 20102:51 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    Well, Kuester also talked about the importance of guys participating in the offseason program, getting in great shape, etc.

    I don’t think Jerebko did that, granted because he spent a lot of his summer playing for his national team. But Villanueva has been praised by everyone in the organization for his work during the offseason.

  • Sep 28, 20103:03 am
    by gmehl1977

    Reply

    Sorry Dan i think Charlie will start first up but at the first sign of laziness, look for him to get yanked pretty quickly!

  • Sep 28, 201010:44 am
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    Look for the starting lineup to be Stuck, Gordon, Prince, CV, and Ben with Rip getting traded before the regular season starts. But i agree that JJ (or maybe Greg Monroe) will push for that starting power forward spot and if CV does not rebound and play defense – he will go to the bench

  • Sep 28, 201011:06 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    John Kuester is the wildcard in all of this. Granted, he didn’t have the full compliment of players last year, but he did weird things like keep Chris Wilcox in the rotation for like four weeks last year when it was very clear that Wilcox made the team worse than any big on the team.

    I think Villanueva will start, and I think Jerebko is well-suited to be a super-energy guy (albeit a very good one) off the bench. I want him to get minutes, but it’s better for the Pistons long-term if Villanueva can win that starting job.

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