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Why the Pistons still believe Charlie Villanueva can help

Charlie Villanueva has been underwhelming while collecting a hefty paycheck from the Pistons since 2009. This season, he’s only played a handful of minutes and has yet to score a point while nursing an ankle injury. He’s often been talked about as a leading candidate to be amnestied next offseason should the Pistons decide to use the clause.

Still though, despite all the struggles, the Pistons hold out hope that Villanueva will get healthy and contribute despite the evidence that he’s too inconsistent and too much of a defensive liability to be a key rotation player. Beckley Mason of Hoop Speak gets at why that might be, using Ryan Anderson as an example:

The goal for NBA offenses–to make hay in the paint–hasn’t changed. But more than ever, the best offenses are adept at going away from the space they want to use, at using multiple credible shooters to unclog the lane.

It wasn’t so long ago that big men whose primary value was as a shooter were regarded as a curiosity, something to be brought of the bench and examined for 20 minutes a game. If a player over 6-8 didn’t trade primarily in toughness, it was a problem, notable exceptions like Robert Horry not withstanding.

Today, that’s simply not the case. In order to thrive after the environmental shift brought by defensive rule changes, the position descriptions of the NBA’s tallest players has mutated. Players like Ryan Anderson, the prototypical stretch big-man, are no longer exotic or a luxury, but a necessity.

Now, Anderson is a much, much more better player than Villanueva at this point. He not only contributes with his shooting, he’s also a solid rebounder and passable defensive player. Those are two things Villanueva is not, so when his shot hasn’t been falling in his Pistons career, there has been nothing else he does well enough to justify having him on the court.

Villanueva does have that 3-point range though. He shot 39 percent from three last season, which is the same percentage Anderson shoots for his career. The Pistons have slashers in the backcourt in Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey who have the ability to get in the paint and force the defense to adjust. They have a big man in Greg Monroe who has made himself into a viable option on offense who commands defensive attention. The Pistons could clearly benefit from having players on the floor whose range can create space for their other offensive threats. Villanueva should be one of those players, which is why he’ll get another chance to prove it if he ever gets healthy enough and in shape enough to get on the court this season. It remains to be seen if that will ever materialize.

41 Comments

  • Jan 23, 20121:39 pm
    by bclarin

    Reply

    Citing Ryan Anderson as an example would be valid on the offensive end but as for the defensive end, the Pistons don’t have Dwight Howard to clean up all of Charlie V’s mess.  Right now Charlie V is a bench player at best making 8M a year.

    • Jan 23, 20122:06 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      He’s certainly not going to help a defense, but I’m not convinced he’s useless (if healthy and in shape, both big ifs, granted) with Greg Monroe’s heightened role in the offense. Ideally, yes, the Pistons would have better options than him at the four, but they don’t really, other than Jerebko, who is more of a hybrid forward anyway.

      • Jan 23, 20126:26 pm
        by bclarin

        Reply

        I agree.  On the current Piston roster, Charlie V has some value as a spot player w/ 3 point capability.  It’s more of a comment on the current Pistons roster and its lack of talent.  Hopefully they can go get something of value that complements G-Mo.

  • Jan 23, 20122:03 pm
    by Shooter McGavin

    Reply

    Charlie Villanueva is a pathetic excuse for an NBA Player. Having been blessed with amazing raw talent, and having his head shoved too far up his ass to utilize it. 

    Detroit will be better off when he’s gone. I wouldn’t amnesty him, I wouldn’t reward him with a paycheck and going wherever he wants.

    Send him to the D-League to rot.

    • Jan 23, 20122:09 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      So … keep his money on your salary cap AND don’t find out if there’s any way whatsoever to get some modest production out of him? That’s not the greatest strategy.

  • Jan 23, 20122:51 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    unnhhh…the team has another guy, daye, who has shown that he is a good enough shooter to stretch defenses.
    in fact, he was the team’s best – along with ben gordon – 3 point shooter last year.
    it seems a no-brainer that it should be a priority to help him get his game together.  instead, the team continues to jerk him around.
    he has a good/decent offensive showing against memphis, and then he gets a dnp-coach’s decision against portland.
    that, imho, is not the way to help a young player get out of a shooting slump.  in fact, it seems destined to help keep that young player in a shooting slump.   
    if the team needs that type of long-range shooting and they have someone who has that type of ability, it just makes sense to do what you have to do to get that player in good form.

    • Jan 23, 20122:59 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I mean, isn’t it possible he didn’t play vs. Portland because of the injury? That has been a pattern this season. Guys how have been banged up have often not played or played very limited minutes in one of the games in back-to-backs. Daye played a lot (for him) of minutes vs. Memphis, maybe they were just resting his ankle vs. Portland. Daye even said before the Memphis game last week that his ankle is bothering him.

    • Jan 23, 20123:03 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Also, while I agree that Daye should be a good 3-point shooter, I don’t know that there’s evidence yet that he is one. His percentage was good last year, but he only shot 30 percent as a rookie and he’s 0-for-13 this year. He certainly hasn’t played enough to form definitive conclusions, but based on his level of production to this point in his career, all we can say is that he’s an average shooter.

      • Jan 23, 20124:20 pm
        by frankie d

        Reply

        well, the bottom line is that we don’t really know and if a team is in fact “rebuilding”, as the GM just stated, it seems logical that a priority would be to gain as much information about recent first round draft choices so that you can resolve how to handle that player in the future.
        keeping that player out of the regular rotation – in favor of a journeyman – after that young player has had a decent/good game, seems totally nonsensical.  it would seem to me that a coach would want to build on, and reward, that kind of play in a player who has been slumping.
        frankly, i’ve don’t think i’ve ever seen a coach try to get a young player out of a slump by continuing to provide him with inconsistent PT.   especially after that player shows signs of breaking out of that slump.  even vets talk about the need for consistent minutes in order to gain consistency.  to expect a young player to develop that consistency, while playing sporadically, just doesn’t fit with any successful approach i’ve ever seen.  the best way to keep a young player in a slump is to keep doing what frank is doing with that player.
        regarding whether daye is a bonafide, legitimate shooter, obviously his pro record is somewhat mixed.
        last year’s sample, because it is almost twice as large as his first year’s sample – number of shots – would be accorded much more credibility by any person doing a statistical analysis.  i avoided taking stats in college, but one thing i do know is that you always get a more accurate reading when you have a larger sample.  hence, i’d expect that his second year numbers are more reflective of his true shooting ability, based on that factor alone.
        there is also the fact that daye has always shot well from distance, in high school and college.  at gonzaga, he shot 42% over 2 years.  that 42% is much closer to his 40% for his second year and considering everything, is much more likely to be a true reflection of his shooting ability.
        shooting and rebounding in college players are two things that generally are similar to what they will do as pros.  good college rebounders generally rebound well in the pros, good college shooters generally shoot well in the pros.
        with shooting, certain factors – like lack of size, slow release, an odd shooting style – can negatively impact a college shooter’s pro success, but neither of those factors are present with daye.  he’s tall enough to shoot over just about any defender, he has a quick release and he doesn’t have some weird shot that lets defenders attack his shot easily.
        so, yes, there is always a possibility that he will not be a good pro shooter – he may lack the nerves, for instance – but the odds, based on his past and his pro experience, strongly suggests that he will be a good shooter in the pros.
        he is, however, going through a slump.  slumps happen with shooters.  btw, 13 3 pointers -in 17 games – is not a lot of shots and certainly not enough to make  some sort of definitive judgment about his shooting ability.   what i’ve said repeatedly is, i think, still valid.  the team has to make a commitment to playing him to find out just what he is capable of doing.
        that has not been done this year.
        btw, what did you think of how philly’s doug collins handled jodie meeks’ slump?
        should he have taken him out of the starting line up?
        should he have benched him for several games?
        should he have demoted him and began bringing him off the bench?
        since you seem to endorse the approach that frank has taken with daye, i wonder how you would have handled a young player, who is very similar to daye, who was in a similar slump as daye?
        we know what happened…meeks eventually busted out of his slump by scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter against detroit, and is now shooting and playing well.
        but did collins make a mistake and hurt his team by indulging meeks and staying with him, rather than simply telling him to toughen up and maybe learn a few lessons on the bench?
        this post seems to indicate the need for a player with CV’s long range shooting ability.  to ignore, or not feel a need to help, a young player with that same ability is curious.  that 3 point shooting can come from any player on the roster.  if daye can be that person, it seems that it should be a priority to find that out.

        • Jan 23, 20124:31 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          I would counter that (lengthy … wow) point by simply saying that most cases of “upside” picks like Daye getting inconsistent minutes usually have more to do with the player not being any good than a coaching staff not using that player correctly. There are always exceptions, especially in Detroit where a handful of young players have blossomed elsewhere, so I get that it’s fair game to question what they are doing with him. But if you look at similar players over the years — guys who need major development but still offer intriguing skills and/or measurables — they invariably don’t get minutes for some combination of the following: they don’t play hard, they don’t play smart, they don’t play with energy, they are inconsistent at the one or two things that are supposed to be their strengths. Throughout Daye’s career, he’s had some glimpses where he looks great, but you can also say any of the above things about him at different times too. Honestly, I’d like to see him play more. But some blame for his lack of development has to rest with him, right? If you can’t earn a consistent role on this lousy roster, it’s not just a problem with the coaching staff. In this case, it’s two different coaching staffs that have had a problem with something about the guy. He’s still an intriguing prospect, but he gets less so the more I see of him.

          • Jan 23, 20124:59 pm
            by frankie d

            considering what you just said, where does a player like dujuan summers fit in?
            how does his detroit tenure fit in?
            almost every poster on this stie ridiculed him, baldly stating that his only future was in europe.
            well, he’s on an nba team, getting PT – inconsistent, but he is playing and even has a few starts – after being released.
            so obviously, someone thinks he has an nba future.  and ironically, that someone is a “defense-first” coach who got his start under his mentor, an old school defense, no-nonsense coach, nate “sarge” mcmillan.
            is detroit better off releasing summers, and then signing a 31 year old vet with extremely limited skills?
            just curious as to where an organizations approach and philosophy comes into the equation…

          • Jan 23, 20125:24 pm
            by frankie d

            i can be somewhat verbose.  i’ve always needed an editor.
            sorry…
            but my main issue has been this…
            what is the team doing?
            what is the team’s mission?
            is/was it to make the playoffs, by hook or by crook?
            is/was it to “rebuild” and hopefully construct a team that would contend in a few years?
            up til this past week, joe d had never stated that he was rebuilding. his only statements on that issue were that he thought he had a team – the last couple of years – that could win and get into the playoffs.
            that has obviously changed, for whatever reason.
            so, if you are truly rebuilding, how can you continue to essentially do the same things you did in prior years, when the team was supposedly trying to win enough to make the playoffs?  his words are a bit different now, but his team is doing the same things in terms of handling talent.
            starting ben wallace…signing and playing wilkins…bringing up a 29 year old point guard from the d-league…refusing to take a chance on any number of young big men that have been available through trade or free agency…signing and bringing back – with no real apparent intention of ultimately trading that player – an older vet who plays a position where you have young players dying for PT…not playing certain young players – daye, macklin – who may or may not be valuable players for your team.  this is the same thing that went on last year.  and the year before.
            as a long, long time fan, i really don’t care if they win or lose this year.   they could lose the rest of their games, but if they played the young guys, i would watch every game just to see how knight and monroe and jj and daye and stuckey played.   i simply want them to figure out what their young players are all about so that, as a fan, i understand what they need and where they are going.
            the inconsistent conduct and message, the refusal to go one way or the other direction is what is maddening.   daye is purely a symbol of that confusion, but a handy one, nonethelsess, because you see all of the contradictions and issues immediately in the way he is handled.  if they are rebuilding, what the heck does it matter if he takes 4 or 5 games – and they lose 3 or 4 of those games partly because of his play – to get out of a shooting slump? there is no downside.  if he breaks out, he’s back to normal and you have a valuable player to keep or trade.   and if he never gets out of it, you know that he is a player you cannot count on.  and he’ll know it also. and you move on.  i feel sorry for the kid because he is in the middle of this mess.   and as i’ve mentioned before, i’ve dealt with young people a lot, and it is crystal clear what is going on with him.  (my supervisors would fire me if i ever went to them and simply told them that a talented young student didn’t toughen up and get his head out of his rear.  they would have expected that i figure out how to get to him, somewhay, somehow.)   but as a fan, i am angry because there is no true commitment in any direction.  despite what joe d may have recently said.
            and obviously i’m not the only person who feels that way, considering the empty seats i see every home game at the palace.

          • Jan 23, 20128:32 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            No worries on the length, just hassling you a bit.

            As for Summers, yeah, I think he probably earned more of a look than he got. Not much more, but by all accounts, he worked hard and was one of the more mature players in an overall immature locker room.

            I don’t have much faith he would’ve turned into a productive rotation player though. Even in NOLA, he’s playing mostly out of necessity — Eric Gordon and Trevor Ariza have both been out and Aminu has been just a notch or two above Austin Daye (interestingly, a coach you seem to like in Williams is handling Aminu much the same way Daye is being handled this year as far as being yanked in and out of the lineup for poor play/defensive shortcomings). I have little confidence Summers is anything more than an end of bench guy, but like I said, I probably would’ve given him a little more of an extended audition before not bringing him back.

  • Jan 23, 20122:56 pm
    by TakMac

    Reply

    The Pistons believing that Charlie V can help is a key piece of evidence to show that they have absolutely no idea what they’re doing.

    In theory, Charlie V can help. But this kind of wish casting is never productive and it actively hurts the Pistons ability to self evaluate their team.

    • Jan 23, 20123:01 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Personally, I don’t think he’ll ever help. But they’re also paying him regardless, so wish casting or not, they probably have to give him every opportunity to show that he can do anything on the court.

      • Jan 23, 20125:51 pm
        by TakMac

        Reply

        To say they owe him every opportunity is to say they owe him more of an opportunity than other players. I think those same minutes are much better spent on Daye and Jerebko to develop thier skills than to throw Charlie V out there and hope he turns it around.

        I don’t see the benefit of pumping up his value when it will never reach equivalence with his contract. At this point he’s basically an amnesty candidate.

        Unless we’re gonna play him for purposes of tanking. I can get behind tanking.

        • Jan 23, 20128:36 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          Well, I’m not saying they roll him out there for 30 minutes a game even if he’s playing like a dog. I’m saying that, once he’s healthy, because they are stuck with him, they do need to give him an extended shot at winning a rotation spot. They’ve done the same thing with Maxiell, and he’s come around a bit. He looked horrible the first three or four games, then played himself into a little better shape and he’s contributing more often than he’s not now. I don’t think he’s contributing consistently enough to build any kind of trade value yet, but he’s taking baby steps in the right direction.

          I think they need to take a similar tact with Villanueva when he’s healthy. Let him play himself into shape for 10-15 minutes per game and hope that he can eventually contribute enough to form some semblance of value. And if he doesn’t, he makes the amnesty decision that much easier.

  • Jan 23, 20122:56 pm
    by BIG MARV

    Reply

    The dream is over for that guy He was fools gold when he was with the bucks, and I knew once he came here he was looking for his big payday and he cashed it in. I think hes the new eddie curry he will be blackballed for a couple of years becuse either A: he can never stay healthy or B: he can never stay inshape and be serious about his game. The only thing thats keeping him survivng in the NBA is that he has legit size. Thats why Kwamie brown been playing for over 10 years even though he sucks when was the last time you seen a 7 foot bum walking up and down the street? and pat you can forget about a slight even a mustard seed of production out of him because if he’s not healthy by now what makes you think he will be healthy and time down the road during this short season? Just let the cat go I rather just play what we have anyway most of the guys on the team are playing better than him anyway

  • Jan 23, 20122:57 pm
    by Jodi Jezz

    Reply

    LOL, lol!!! Ryan Anderson is not better than Charlie V…Come on, lets be serious…

    • Jan 23, 20123:00 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Do you even watch basketball?

    • Jan 23, 20123:10 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Just for fun:

      Ryan Anderson career numbers:

      • 17.7 PER
      • .573 true shooting %
      • .385 3-point %
      • 97 defensive rating
      • 8.6 rebounds per 36 minutes

      Charlie V career numbers:

      • 16.4 PER
      • .527 true shooting %
      • .346 3-point %
      • 110 defensive rating
      • 8.0 rebounds per 36 minutes

      Also, Anderson’s numbers have been trending way up the last two years. He’s one of the league’s most improved players. Villanueva has been terrible since signing in Detroit.

      • Jan 23, 20125:00 pm
        by Jodi Jezz

        Reply

        Yeah, I have league pass…I watch every game we play plus other games from other teams…Ryan Anderson sucks, just because he’s having a good year doesn’t mean you should say he’s better that Charlie V…I don’t care about the statistic numbers, Ryan Anderson is garbage and I can’t believe you would state he is better than Charlie V…Durant averaged more points than Lebron last year, so I guess Durant was better than James…Heck no!..
         
        Charlie V has been playing off the bench since signing with Detroit…He plays as limited role, so you can’t expect 20pt numbers and 9rebs out of him…In addition, he was playing under the Kuester era!..It’s all about chemistry and role, that’s what some fans forget about basketball…Anderson plays with Howard so he gets a lot of open looks and most of the time all Anderson does is stand at the 3pt line…Anderson has no post moves, and isn’t good at all on the defense end…I don’t agree with you that Ryan Anderson is better than Charlie V at all…The only thing Anderson has going for him is his cheap contract and he is 3yrs younger…

        • Jan 23, 20126:14 pm
          by TakMac

          Reply

          Ryan Anderson has better numbers than Charlie V has ever had. I agree that Anderson benefits from playing with Howard, but it’s not like Charlie V does anything other than stand at the 3 pt line.

        • Jan 23, 20128:42 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          Anderson obviously benefits from playing next to Howard, as any player does next to a superstar. He still shoots, rebounds and defends better than Villanueva ever has.

          “Charlie V has been playing off the bench since signing with Detroit”

          This is Anderson’s first year as the full-time starter. He’s come off the bench most of his career.

          “He plays as limited role, so you can’t expect 20pt numbers and 9rebs out of him”

          I don’t expect that. I do expect him to come into camp in shape (something he’s done only once in three camps with the Pistons). I do expect him to make a passable effort on defense (something he hasn’t done in Detroit). I do expect him to rebound better than a guard when he’s on the court (something he has done a poor job of in Detroit). I do expect him to try and post up more than occasionally (he’s too often glued to the perimeter).

          “It’s all about chemistry and role, that’s what some fans forget about basketball”

          It’s also about effort and production. Villanueva plays with poor effort and his production has reflected that.

          “Anderson has no post moves, and isn’t good at all on the defense end”

          His defensive statistics say otherwise.

          “The only thing Anderson has going for him is his cheap contract and he is 3yrs younger”

          Those things, combined with the fact that he’s statistically superior to Villanueva, make him a much better and more valuable player.

  • Jan 23, 20123:03 pm
    by Lisa

    Reply

    How exactly did Charlie hurt himself? Was it sleeping? Make him do something do earn his keep!

    • Jan 23, 20123:05 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Nothing has clearly been reported on it as far as what happened or how serious it is. All that has really been said is he hurt it before the season started, sometime in training camp possibly.

  • Jan 23, 20123:04 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    Not a useful article. Nothing new here.

    I’ll say this about Charlie: He’ll get another chance for reasons other than his upside. Other reasons include: Amnestying either Charlie Hustle or Ben Gordon leaves an extraordinary amount of egg on Dumars’s face, and; Gordon is another PRIME amnesty candidate, and it would behoove the team to make as careful a decision as possible before choosing one.

    • Jan 23, 20123:05 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Not a useful comment.

      • Jan 23, 20126:44 pm
        by Laser

        Reply

        Groan.

        • Jan 23, 20128:44 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          Seriously … how many times have you posted near the exact text of that comment? You a broken record man. And you’re gonna tell me I’m not posting useful stuff? Please. Step your game up before you get critical of others. If you don’t find the post useful, it’s cool. But seriously, as a basketball fan, you should check out Beckley’s post on Anderson that it links to. Good stuff.

  • Jan 23, 20123:58 pm
    by Scott

    Reply

    See if we can possibly trade Villanueva/Daye to Charlotte for Desegana Diop(1 year less on his contract). Sounds possible to me at least.
     
     

    • Jan 23, 20128:45 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I would love that, but Charlotte is looking to cut salary, so that’s probably unlikely.

  • Jan 23, 20124:24 pm
    by gmehl1977

    Reply

    Buyout CV and amnesty BG i think. I don’t care how much egg is on Joe’s face. Put it this way…if there was egg on his face it wouldn’t be there long.

  • Jan 23, 20124:58 pm
    by gordbrown

    Reply

    Last season CV showed up in shape and played well for the first little bit. He then sprained his ankle and missed about a week. When he came back, he played poorly, saw his minutes get cut back and to my eyes his conditioning took a big step backwards. Whether his minutes got cut back because his ankle was never right (which would explain a lot currently) or because he was no longer in playing shape, or just sheer coaching incompetence (given what happened last year) is an open question. Apparently, he was terrible playing for the DR in the summer and that too was blamed on his ankle. I’m sympathetic that something is seriously wrong with his wheels, perhaps due to his coming back too soon last year. Of course, that doesn’t explain why his weight ballooned, there’s lots you can do to stay in shape without stressing your ankle. In a way, it’s too bad he’s played at all this year. Rather than amnesty him, you could go the insurance/retirement route, but that takes a year without playing before it kicks in.

  • Jan 23, 20125:17 pm
    by D_S_V

    Reply

    Ugghhhhh…. why can’t we just trade CV and/or BG for a rebounding, shot blocking big man? 

    -Sarcastic quote of day

  • Jan 23, 20125:51 pm
    by Scott

    Reply

    Ryan Anderson – heart = Charlie Villanueva

    • Jan 23, 20127:01 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      i hate sports terms like heart. wht do they mean? do you mean effort? scrappiness? motivation?

      ryan anderson – fitness – talent – hair = charlie villanueva

  • Jan 23, 20127:23 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    CV has been a disappointment every stage of his career.  why should it be any different here in detroit?
    talented guy, but with no real commitment to winning basketball.
    every once in a while a little light bulb goes off in his head and he realizes how he is wasting his talent and he plays well for 2..3…4 games.
    but then, it’s like the fever is over, broken, and  he just settles back into being charlie v. 
    the only mystery is why joe d ever thought he could get more out of him.
    i’m sure he had visions of chauncey – as a relatively cheap free agent – dancing in his head.

    • Jan 23, 20128:47 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      “the only mystery is why joe d ever thought he could get more out of him.”

      Charlie is a contract year wonder. He still wasn’t good in Milwaukee, but his overall counting numbers looked good heading into free agency, so Dumars bit hard. Should’ve paid attention to the fact that Milwaukee didn’t even want to give the guy a qualifying offer to have the opportunity to match him on the free agent market. That, to me, was the biggest warning sign that Dumars completely ignored with the guy, not to mention all the advanced stats that said “stay away.”

  • Jan 24, 20121:49 am
    by damian

    Reply

    charlie v and ryan anderson would have the same numbers if they switched roles…

  • Jan 24, 201210:12 am
    by sebastian

    Reply

    Does anyone recall, prior to start of last year’s training camp (circa summer of 2010), how Kanter was working with Charlie V. on improving his gait. Kanter had determined that Charlie V. had some issues with his feet. And, even the times that Charlie V. was on the floor, during his previous seasons as Pistons you could see that the guy appeared to gingerly place one foot in front of the other. In short, he was slow. WE all dismissed it as he being lazy, which may not be far from the truth, either.
    I think that guy has bad feet. Just another reason why Joe should had not signed this bum to a 4 year/$35 million contract.
    Joe got played, by player who can’t play because he has bad feet.
    Dam(n) you Joe!

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