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Charlie Villanueva could be playing his way into a starting job

Nothing is imminent, of course, but Vince Ellis of the Free Press raises the possibility that Charlie Villanueva could start a power forward for the Pistons if he continues to play at such a high level:

Although he won’t admit it publicly, he would prefer to start. If Kuester were to make that move, it would stop the Jason Maxiell-Austin Daye juggling act at power forward. Then Maxiell and Daye could be regular parts of the second unit, where Daye could get settled at his more natural small forward spot.

But if Villanueva keeps performing, Kuester might feel it best to leave it alone.

So Villanueva could start for the Pistons. Unless he doesn’t. Admittedly, that doesn’t bring much clarity to the issue, but it’s pretty clear Villanueva has been the Pistons best option at power forward all season so far. He’s out-played every other candidate at that position, and he did say before the season started that he’d like to be a starter. Ideally, I’d like to see Villanueva get rewarded for his obvious commitment to improving and good attitude with the starting job if that’s what he desires.

But the positive thing is that he’s been closing games, whether he starts them or not. He’s been one of the Pistons’ best (if not the best) crunch time players this season.


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  • Nov 23, 201012:22 pm
    by Alan


    Villanueva is about one dozen games into the 2nd year of his 5-year contract.  The direction he’s taking is fantastic and the improvement has been so, so positive.  The most important thing is that this direction and improvement continue.  If the coach and front office feel there will be no change in this - I’m all for Charlie starting, he’s certainly earned it.  We can’t afford any setbacks, however, and it would be disastrous to give him the job only to take it away. 

    We’re rebuilding.  If the Pistons feel its necessary to see Villanueva’s effort continue and parlay another summer in Detroit into a starting job next season, I’m okay with this. 

  • Nov 23, 20102:16 pm
    by frankie d


    if they are smart they will leave him in his current role.  it is perfect for him.
    scorer off the bench.  and if you get more from him as he fills this role, fine.  but putting him in the starting line-up raises the expectations of what he will bring to every game and even while he has been playing well, he has not shown that he can do those things, game in and game out.  and considering his history, it is likely that he would not be able to do those things – rebound and defend – each and every game.
    a smart coach and organization would understand that they may have lucked into discovering the perfect role for a player like villenueva – he is essentially a streak shooter who can occasionally rebound and play a little defense – and i just hope they understand that fact and leave him in this role.
    i don’t have a lot of hope , however, as this organization has consistently been incapable of putting its players in the best position for them to succeed.
    stuckey as point guard.
    monroe as center.
    jj as power forward.
    daye as power forward.
    with all of those young players, they are playing out of position – stuckey should be a jason terry-type 3rd guard; monroe is a PF; JJ is a SF and daye is a SG/SF – but joe d and coach k continue to hamper the progress of their young players by refusing to put them in their proper roles.
    again, they have found the perfect role for Charlie V and i just hope they don’t screw it up by trying to make him into a starter.

  • Nov 23, 20103:45 pm
    by DoctorDaveT


    Hey, PP,
    @Patrick – you’re title says “…could be…”. I get what you’re saying, but it should real “…has…”. He has clearly been the best 4spot on the floor.
    @frankie d – in a perfect world, or on a team with a better 4, yeah, you’d leave CV in his current role. But that’s the point: there isn’t a better 4spot on this team.
    It creates positive synergy: Daye gets to move to backup 3; and Max gets to play backup 4.
    CV should have been starting at 4 all along. Let’s hope it happens soon.

  • Nov 23, 20103:50 pm
    by Chabvis


    Why do people put so much importance into whether a player is “starting” or not? It does not matter at all. What matters is what kind of minutes that a player gets and at what points in the game. Charlie has been closing out games and getting 30+ minutes. He is doing this without starting and is playing at a very high level. Why do we want to change this and put him in the starting lineup?
    He is one of the few things that is working very well for us, let’s not mess this up too.

  • Nov 23, 20104:00 pm
    by frankie d


    i just think that he can be more effective as a player if he stays in his current role.
    sometimes, a player just performs better as a guy who comes off the bench.  he can still be a very important player for that team but for many reasons, it simply works better for him, individually, and for the team, if he comes off the bench.
    when manu ginobli was coming off the bench for SA he was definitely one of their top 3 or 4 players, but the team was better balanced when he came off the bench.
    when ricky pierce played for the bucks back in the day, he may have been their best player – arguably – but he came off the bench and regularly destroyed teams.
    because of their games and temperaments, some guys are simply better suited to come off the bench.  i think CV is one of those guys and if he is smart, he’ll embrace the role rather than fight it.

  • Nov 23, 20105:22 pm
    by Laser


    who starts matters, and you’ll have a hard time convincing me otherwise. for one, starters set the tone for the game. that’s why your best players tend to start. and they’re up against the stiffest competition. for another, there are just plain more minutes available to starters. if one of your core players comes off the bench, it can be extremely difficult to take them out of a game in each half once they’re inserted. in any given game, there are 5-9 minutes per half that are off-limits. i had no problem with villa coming off the bench behind jonas, who earned his role and was the better player. there’s no excuse for him not to be the starter here. it even made sense to have him come off the bench when stuckey was the only other reliable scorer available, but with an entire bench that can put the ball in the hole, it’s just ridiculous at this point. occasionally a prolific scorer comes off the bench behind an inferior offensive player, but no coach in their right mind has their best offensive guard AND forward come off the bench. ben gordon is all the scoring punch any bench really needs, but with bynum and daye and t-mac also available, give me a break.
    god forbid we needed to lean on charlie a little in OT. he would have been gassed! guy enters a game halfway through the first and third quarters and can’t take a seat if he’s going to play starters’ minutes.
    god knows why he’s still not starting, but just because it’s the status quo, or that he’s thriving in the role, doesn’t mean it’s right. in fact, i tend to assume that whatever the pistons are doing right now is probably the opposite of a sound, successful strategy.
    i love max, but he is not a starter in this league. and alongside ben up front? this is not a recipe for success. daye was a joke at power forward. villa’s the easy choice here. there is no reason austin daye should collect DNP-CDs while the team’s as bad as it is. like i said, the opposite of what they’re doing is probably the best plan, whatever that may be.
    also, this MAD notion some of you seem to have that we should “stay the course” in ANY facet of what we’ve been doing this season is ludicrous. this team is going nowhere fast. they’ve looked bad through 13 games to start the season and have ONE (1) win against a .500 or better team. but, hey, charlie’s enjoying his role! right? right?

  • Nov 23, 20105:27 pm
    by frankie d


    i hope you get a chance to see how he plays as a starter.
    imho, i think that CV is just one of those guys who cannot take the pressure and one of the ways to lessen that pressure is to bring him off the bench.
    it just provides him with fewer expectations.  and CV simply seems to be a guy who struggles when expectations are higher.
    but if he starts, we’ll all get a chance to see if that is true.

  • Nov 23, 20107:06 pm
    by lk#1


    CV should continue coming off the bench.
    Last season i saw that he played better when he was involved offensively early. He played better defense, tried harder when he scored and had something going for him offensively. With Pistons starting lineup there are not many shots left for 3rd or 4th option in the first few minutes of the game. The first play is always called for Prince, Rip takes his shots and Stuckey takes most of the remaining shots. I like him more as the first player off the bench. This gives him a much more important role. The main objectives for a starting PF on this team is playing defense and setting screens . Despite his improvement i don’t like him being asked to do those things to earn playing time.
    CV is clearly better when he starts the game with his shooting and then tries to defend. His offense is his main motivation. This is my observation from the last season and this year Charlie has been a better defender and overal he’s a better player but i wouldn’t like anyone to take him out of his comfort zone.
    His role is increasing with every good game anyway.
    As a foreigner i would like to apogolize for any language mistakes in my post :)

  • Nov 23, 20108:34 pm
    by Patrick Hayes



    No worries man. Your post is more well written than — without naming names — some of the native English speakers who frequent PistonPowered.

    I don’t care that much where Villanueva plays, as long as he’s getting significant minutes and he’s happy.

    But I will say this: he’s out-played everyone at his position. It hasn’t even been close. If, as he stated in the preseason, his goal is to be a starter with the Pistons (and why wouldn’t it be? I think most players want to start), you can’t convince me that he hasn’t done everything in his power to prove he deserves that opportunity.

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