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Pistons: Charlie Villanueva working hard, in ‘really good shape’

Keith Langlois of Pistons.com:

Arnie Kander told me last week how hard Charlie has worked with him this season and said he’s gotten himself in really good shape, which is tough to do for players during the season. As the season goes on, practices begin to taper in duration and, in some ways, in intensity to preserve the bodies of the eight or nine players who are in the rotation. Players outside the rotation, then, have to be especially self-motivated to find ways to stay in top condition and Villanueva has done that. Is he frustrated that he’s not playing? I’m sure he is, but he hasn’t let it affect his attitude.

Caveats about the source of the information apply – of course, the Pistons organization would say one of its players is doing everything right – but if true, this is rather stunning and pleasing.

The problem with this report, though: If it’s true, it makes Lawrence Frank look bad. A hard-working, in-shape, self-motivated Charlie Villanueva deserves to play. Villanueva has immense talent, and most of his problems have appeared to stem from attitude. If that’s solved, even temporarily, it doesn’t make sense to keep sitting him.

What gives?


  • Apr 2, 20124:08 pm
    by Al


    No kidding, what gives then?? As much hope as I had for him and BG, at this point CV should really see some playing time. The season was lost with the 4-20 start and I get the establishing rotation which it looks like Frank has done so at this point this multimillionare should be coming in with the 2nd unit or at least mop up time one would think. This makes me wonder if Macklin wil crack the rotation before CV will which would be most interesting. One has to wonder how this unfolds during the summer..

  • Apr 2, 20124:18 pm
    by Frey


    What gives?  Coach Frank is a defense first coach and on his best day Charlie V is a poor defender and rebounder.  Who would you sit Max, Jerebko, or Wallace?  All three have bought into Frank’s system and have worked hard on team defense.  Even a over-the-hill Wallace is still a smarter more reliable defender than Charlie.  I wish you could combine Charlie V and Ben Gordon into a single player.  Charlie Gordon?  That way the Pistons could amnesty both of them at the end of the season.

    • Apr 3, 20121:40 pm
      by BIGMARV


      Preach on that one I dont understand why PP had to write an article on this guy, he’s been garbage since he been here and i told people he will be fools gold after that good year with the bucks! and thats exactly what he was he soaked up good money sat on th pine and kept up a crabby attitude people can drink the Kool-Aid all they want im glad frank sat him all year it shows that we didnt need him in the first place.

  • Apr 2, 20124:43 pm
    by frankie d


    frank sitting a guy to make a point….to drive home some sort of message to the team?
    who would ever imagine that?!
    l don’t like CV.  never have.  thought his signing was a huge mistake.
    and i certainly understand his weak points.
    but even CV does some positive things on the basketball court.  and he has a talent – 3 point shooting, and scoring, generally – that the team could certainly exploit.
    when i talk about frank being rigid, this is exactly what i’m talking about.
    frank would rather sit 7 million dollars worth of basketball talent to make whatever point he’s making, rather than figure out someway, somehow to use what skills he does bring to a court.
    considering that the pistons have a problem scoring points, and the one thing CV can do is score points, it seems a waste to not try to find some way to use what is obviously a needed skill.
    finding some way to hide or minimize the negative impact of bad defensive players is something just about every coach in the league does. 
    for instance, there are plenty of teams that put a non-scorer like ben wallace on the court.  in that situation, why not put CV out there and try to make some use of his ability to score?
    but then, we’ve seen this method of handling other players also.
    another example of applying the bobby knight method….

  • Apr 2, 20124:55 pm
    by Al


    You can surley sit one of the guys or even make adjustments, that’s what a coach does. On nights like Chicago and the Bobcats when we couldnt buy a bucket from our startes and 2nd unit, why not call up a guy making “millions”, “pain free” and in “shape” to maybe give the team a much needed spark with Stuckey and Gordon out with injuries?? Perfect time. And no CV really doesnt play defense but he’ll strecth the floor get some rebounds and score which is what they needed on those nights depsite the OT win most recently on a night they didnt shoot well..

  • Apr 2, 20125:04 pm
    by Tiko


    It’s been nice not seeing Charlie v play all year.

  • Apr 2, 20125:05 pm
    by frankie d


    funny…i always joke about frank being a knight disciple, because of his time at indiana, but as it turns out, he is proud of that fact and clearly acknowledges knight’s influence.
    this is a short interview where he specifically speaks about knight’s impact on his career.
    if anyone wants to understand lots of the stuff frank does -his defensive philosophy, benching guys, etc. – all they have to do is understand knight’s influence. i went to 2 big ten schools, lived in two big ten college towns almost the entire time knight was at indiana and i got a good look at his style.  knight was a great, great college coach and had THE best basketball team i ever saw – indiana’s ’76 undefeated team – but there was a reason he never went to the nba.  his style would not work and will not work in the nba.   remember quinn buckner’s attempt to run a knight-style team down in dallas?

  • Apr 2, 20125:24 pm
    by Mel


    Charlie V hasn’t been playing because he was hurt most of the season, and know he has to prove himself worthy to be put in the rotation. I don’t care how much he makes, if he’s not performing or not up to speed with whats going on he sits. Maybe he’s just getting up to speed and might play soon. I won’t blame L Frank at all, he’s turned this team into a competitive team and there now 15-14 after the allstar break. Major improvement considering what was giving to him and having to change the attitude of the team. The reason why Bobby Knight couldn’t coach in the NBA is because he is an @$$ to his players. NBA players would not play for him. Frank knows how to make that balance. Think about the Lions after 0-16 year they won 2 games the 2nd year 6 the next and 10 this year plus playoffs. This is my prediction we go to the playoffs next year regardless who we draft this year. The attitude has changes and the the players we have now are believing in themselves and playing with chemistry something more important than who we draft. imho

  • Apr 2, 20126:01 pm
    by Bygdygod


    Why sit JJ Max or Ben?? What have they done to be pulled from the rotation. This goes back to the problem with Kuester not sitting guys an not havin a clear rotation. The best part of Frank an this year is the Clear rotation. Not starting 29 different lineups. Not playing guys 30 mins one night an none the other. This is something we as fans can’t grasp an that’s that Every player wants to know there role! CV knows what’s happening that’s y he’s not complaining. He missed the first 30 – 40 games an plays NO defense. Yea he will get you 16, but give up 20!

  • Apr 2, 20126:13 pm
    by frankie d


    “The reason why Bobby Knight couldn’t coach in the NBA is because he is an @$$ to his players. NBA players would not play for him. ”
    that is exactly my point.
    frank is a smart guy.  he’s certainly not going to do things exactly how knight would do them – he’s not stupid – but he’s going to be influenced by the way knight would handle things.  and what he appears to do, imho, is basically use a kindler, gentler version of the bobby knight method.   especially in the way he handles players.  he’s still doing what knight would do, but he just does it in a way that is palatable to nba players and culture.
    my point is this: knight’s way does not work in the nba, even if it is presented in a kindler, gentler way.
    despite the fact that knight has been one of basketball’s best coaches since the early ’70′s, i cannot think of a single knight disciple who’s had success in the nba.
    not a one who has won a  title, or even had a good record.
    on the other hand, if you look at the influence of a guy like dean smith, you see long branches of very successful nba coaches, from larry brown to george karl to popovich to many others.  if i wanted to hire an nba coach, i’d look for guys who’d come from that lineage, rather than knight’s.

    • Apr 3, 201212:01 pm
      by rick77


      Your argument is a bit flawed in that Popovich has R.C. Buford as a GM and you cannot give credit to Pop without mentioning Buford. As for Brown it was all about timing and being in the right place at the right time. He had a team that was ready made by the previous coach. He didnt have to go out and buy any groceries(Parcells speak) because Carlisle had set the tone previously. I mean Pop has three titles and Brown one. Now as for George Karl he seems like a Daly type coach who gets but I think more of that has to do with his health and that may be why he is less rigid than before. Its about management and chemistry. If the players are buying in then it does not matter. I think by Frank being young and growing with new players that they will buy into him more so than a old school coach because of mentatlity and the fact that he can relate. Its why I think Scott Brooks has suceeded in Oklahoma City. My only question is why should it be a problem that a team have a strict disciplinarian as a coach so as long as he respects the players. I think a former player can take a part of what he learned as a player from a former coach and implement it without being exactly like that coach in the way that he conducts himself. If you wanted Woodson, he is a Knight disciple and look at the Hawks. Their was really noone else to go to other than those two. If it came down to those two then you go with the lesser of two evils. So I think that throws that theory out the window. Enlighten me to your thoughs and what you think.

      • Apr 3, 20121:32 pm
        by frankie d


        as usual,  you don’t deal with the issue i’ve raised and instead go off on some tangent that i had not discussed.
        i brought up coaching trees and how coaches like knight had not successfully mentored nba coaches.  you’ve said nothing about that fact.   again, knight has been coaching for 5 decades.  he’s had dozens of assistants, hundreds of former players and not one has become a successful nba coach.
        imho, that is not a coincidence.
        woodson and frank are probably the most “successful” knight protoge’s and their lack of success proves my point.  and then you have the extreme, though significant, flameout of quinn buckner, who tried to be a perfect bobby knight clone and lasted one yea, in an epic failure of the knight method.
        and i do not understand why you bring up GMs.  i’ve said nothing about the influence of organizations and GMs.  i’ve talked about the influence of coaches.
        and there is a direct line from dean smith to larry brown and from dean smith to george karl and from larry brown to popovich and it cannot be denied.  and there are plenty of other very good head coaches from the dean smith coaching tree.
        dean smith, and his totally different approach to coaching, has been extraordinarily successful in mentoring coaches who’ve had success in the nba.   if i am the person making the hiring decision, i’d hire someone who was influenced by dean smith, who had a dean smith pedigree.  and i’d stay away from anyone who cited bobby knight as their main influence.
        the facts are the facts.  the numbers are the numbers.  the knight approach has not worked.
        i would certainly hire a frank or woodson as an assistant coach, but as a head coach?  no way, unless i wanted to insure that my teams were forever mediocre.

        • Apr 3, 20124:21 pm
          by rick77


          Why is it you always have to try and talk down like you know more when all you have to do is state your point without all the extra emphasis. Again at the end of the statement I said enlighten me. No where in did I say reprimand me because you felt as if I did not approach the topic accordingly.

          Since you so damn smart what coaching tree is Phil Jackson from, Pat Riley, Doc Rivers, Rudy Tomjanovich? Larry Brown coached just about every team in the league so I think using him as an example is not fair because of your bias because he won his only title here.

          Dean Smith is a great coach but by using your logic that would make Michael Jordan a great coach in the wings instead of GM, right? You have your opinion and I have mine and the real kicker in this whole issue is that I am no Knight fan, but I think that people change. People have to evolve and if a player came through him and he has been progressive in his approach(as it relates to coaching) I  may take that chance and go outside the box to see how it works.

          Personally speaking I am not afraid of change nor discipline and I feel alot of young players need that. The key is to know what buttons to push. another thing is I just wanted to argue the fact that just because you are coached by someone does not make you the same as that coach. I can go on and on with other examples as to why that statement is shallow and leaves to much for open interpetation but I will leave it at that.

  • Apr 2, 20126:21 pm
    by vic


    CV is not a defender or rebounder in the paint. Tayshaun & Damien wilkins play at SF, and are better wing defenders. There’s no reason to play CV right now at the 4 or 3. He’s to small for the 5.

    Frank is a good coach, that’s why CVs not playing. He hasn’t played all season, so he really has to do something great to get on the floor. Great meaning defense first or rebound or score in the paint.

    Frank is coaching a good team with a small rotation, not a little league everybody plays no matter what team. That’s a positive for our rebuilding, i think.

    • Apr 2, 20126:35 pm
      by frankie d


      wilkins is not a good defender.
      when you watch him play, he constantly gets abused.  he will typically be in the right place, so there’s some value in that, but he constantly gets beaten by his man.  he’s been downright humiliated several times.  not the sign of a good defender. 
      “Frank is coaching a good team with a small rotation…”
      unhhh…..maybe you haven’t noticed, but the pistons are 19-33.  only 7 teams have worse records.
      one might describe the team in many ways – improving, eg – but “good” is certainly not something that is a fair description.
      objectively, their record says that they are not a good team.
      maybe they will be in the future.  but they are not a “good” team right now.  which is all the reason to be a bit more open to trying different things with your players.

      • Apr 3, 20121:34 am
        by DVS


        Wilkinss has been a solid defneder all year. He’s covered both SFs and SGs and done a respectable job. Saying that he isn’t is just a blatant lie.
        He’s done a very good job this year and was a great pick up for the price.
        He isn’t that far behind prince who is considered a top shelf defender…
        He’s been solid this year

        • Apr 3, 20121:14 pm
          by frankie d


          solid defender? hardly.  and the fact that he can’t guard either SFs or SGs says nothing positive about him.
          when you watch him play, he looks horrible, constantly getting beaten by average to good players.
          it is revealing that you would compare him to tayshaun and call tayshaun a top shelf defender.  no one who knows anything about BB would describe tay in that fashion.
          however, he is similar to tay in the sense that he looks ok against bad players, but when faced with average-to-good or better players, he gets abused.  the pistons playoff failures, where tay was repeatedly abused by opposing SFs is the best example of that.
          need more proof?
          well, those advanced stats that frank is using to prove that detroit is becoming a good defensive team…
          well those stats clearly show that both wilkins and tay are bad defenders.
          wilkins defensive rating is 108; tay’s is 110.  my understanding is that 105 is considered average.  108 is not good and 110 is downright bad.
          so wilkins brings nothing offensively, he is not a good defender – according to the hard, cold stats – so what does he bring to the table…other than being the coach’s pet?
          and anyone who would describe wilkins’ play as “solid” is clearly delusional.  he’s one of the worst rotation players in the league.

      • Apr 3, 201210:18 am
        by vic


        the team has progressed significantly since he shortened the rotation.after going 4 and 20, the record has significantly improved when he figured out who would play, who wouldnt play, and guys got settled in to their roles.  ’good’ is of course relative to 4-20

  • Apr 2, 20128:22 pm
    by Max


    Off Topic: When was the last time, if ever, that the final game of the ncaa tournament featured players who are fairly likely to go as the top three picks in the draft?

    • Apr 2, 20129:36 pm
      by apa8ren9


      of the top of my head – maybe phi slamma jamma and the NC state team in 84?

      • Apr 2, 201211:53 pm
        by Max


        It only work if you combine drafts but you do bring up a more star studded final.

  • Apr 2, 20129:25 pm
    by Mel Crosby


    Hey Frankie D, As since the all star break the team is 15-13 so technically the are a good team when you consider he recieved a team that had no direction, confidence and no chemistry. It took Larry Brown a while before he had the going to work team playing the way he wanted and that team was good before he got there. Also Rasheed put them over the top. Who’s to say Larry Brown would have won a ship it he didn’t have those circumstances. He never one a NBA ship before or after 04. Not counting college or ABA. Who’s to say Frank’s way can’t work ? He’s worked under several other coaches also he’s even said he was influenced buy Chuck Daly too.
    I think we have to give the guy some time , he figured something out that 2 other coaches couldn’t with this roster and he did it with a rookie playing point and a second year center. Let him finish out his first full season then we can evaluate him.

    P,S Woodson is cool as a coach but look at the talent he’s working with. Also he was in Atlanta for 6 years with the same group and didn’t win a Championship.

  • Apr 2, 20129:33 pm
    by apa8ren9


    Charlie will get his shot to play just like Austin Daye did.  And when that happens and CV plays well and IMPACTS the game then he will get more time.  Frank has already committed to JJ and Maxiell so that means that CV has to contribute something other than points and that is rebounding and defense– Not his specialties.  Unless injuries happen or JJ and Maxiell suddenly start playing horribly then he may have to wait until next season to prove himself.  He got hurt and sometimes crap happens.  Frank has not been unfair to players and their playing time.  There has been expectations and roles set for players and its clear that if they dont meet them in his estimation then they dont play.  Doesnt matter how much you make.  Its up to CV to fit in not the other way around.  He will be ok , he didnt do anything the last 2 years so what is one more throwaway shortened season?

  • Apr 2, 201211:14 pm
    by domnick


    not playing because not earned the coach’s trust… and he’s really the odd man out

  • Apr 2, 201211:45 pm
    by Mark


    This report doesnt make Frank look bad at all.

    Charlie could be in ‘Ben Wallace in his prime’ shape, he still sucks at basketball.
    Franks not giving out minutes based on conditioning. Its not a track/field compeition.

  • Apr 3, 20122:04 pm
    by frankie d


    why play CV?
    because he’s occupying a roster spot and taking up lots of space under the cap.
    it makes no sense, imho, to simply bury a player, and it makes a lot more sense to try to find someway, somehow to use that player.
    why play CV?
    take a look at the pistons’ roster and salary structure:
    rip – 5.5 million
    CV – 7.5 million
    terrico white – 800,000
    almost 14 million dollars of cap space that has been wasted this year.  14 million dollars that could have been used on all sorts of transactions that could have benefitted the team.
    it simply makes sense to try to get some return on a part of that 7.5 million you are paying to CV, as you can’t recover any value from over 6 million dollars in salary going out.
    i’ve disliked CV since he stumbled around in a connecticut uniform.  i hated it when detroit signed him.
    but he’s here and he’s probably not going anywhere for a couple more years.  imho, it’s better to try to find someway, somehow to get something out of him, rather than just calling him names and burying him on the bench.
    both he and the team will be better off.  if he plays well and contributes great.  if he shows anything, he might pique the interest of some team somewhere who’d be willing to trade for him.  giving him the old gordie howe mushroom treatment does nothing for his value and insures that he’ll be an expensive seat warmer for the next 2 years.

    • Apr 3, 20123:42 pm
      by steve battle creek, mi


      so your saying play a guy OVER other guys STRICTLY BASED ON HIS SALARY???  that makes NO SENSE at all!  so if CV makes 7.5 mil and Max makes 5mil, play CV?  even thou Max has been having a really solid year!  WOW!!! talk about losing the lockerroom!  you say CV is talented, but in the next breath you never wanted him and he’s been “stumbling around since Uconn”.   But you say play him over JJ, Max and Body Wallace??  or mybe he can showcase something for another team??  hes been in the league over 5yrs, EVERY team knows what he is and does….SHoots threes, get pushed around on D, SOFT.   FRANKIE D YOU ARE DUMB AND JUST POST STUPID STUFF.   

      • Apr 3, 20124:24 pm
        by rick77


        Now that’s a fact I will not dispute. Classic

      • Apr 3, 20125:09 pm
        by frankie d


        gee…then i guess the guy who gave CV around 40 million must really be an idiot!!!!
        yea, he shoots 3′s.  it’s a skill that can be used in some capacity during the course of a basketball game.  it’s the job of a good coach – and the organization that gave him 40 million dollars – to find some way to incorporate that skill, as limited as it can be, in some fashion.
        pretty freaking simple. 
        and anyone who cannot understand the simple logic of using something that you are paying for,  giving a lot of money to, is a total idiot.
        of course, only geniuses pay someone 40 million dollars and then sit him in a corner and let him rot!!!
        that is truly the smart thing to do!  
        …and come to think of it, i’m sure that was joe d’s plan all along!!!
        why didn’t i realize it!
        his plan all along was to give 40 million dollars to a useless piece of dung player, so he could easily waste all of that money in a very efficient fashion!!!
        why didn’t i think of that before!!!
        thanks for pointing out exactly what joe d’s brilliant plan was!!   foolish me!!  Ah’s just too stuupid to understand such genius logic.  my bad!!!

        • Apr 3, 20126:08 pm
          by Bygdygod


          Again you post outrageous an stupid comments…JOE MADE A MISTAKE with CV..DUH!! So you say continue the mistake by playing him?? Jus to show what exactly??? L Frank is trying to WIN an he feels cv does not give him the best chance to win. DUH!! I mean your arguments are jus ridiculous Play the guy because he makes more money than the others. Yeah that makes sense?!!? Joe thought the 25 yr old guy could turn into sumthin HE DIDN’T…GET OVER IT! Now if you want critize the signing of cv I’m there with you. BAD MOVE. But to play him after you discover the mistake. That would not be smart. An by the way EVERY GM MAKES MISTAKES. Joe has the next two years to right this ship. So get over it. An we are contenders again mybe u can find another team to bad mouth

          • Apr 3, 20128:01 pm
            by frankie d

            “So you say continue the mistake by playing him?? Jus to show what exactly??”
            unhh…he’s making a lot of money and if i were the pistons i’d like to get some kind of return on my investment.  sitting him without attempting to showcase his skills – scoring – makes little sense.
            a competent nba coach should at least attempt to find some way to use the acknowledged nba skills he does possess.
            he is, for a big man, an extraordinary shooter.  it’s worth at least a try to figure out some way to use that skill.  or to showcase that skill so that someone else might want to use that skill.
            he is, after all, going to make a heckuva lot of money over the next two years.

        • Apr 3, 20128:29 pm
          by Bygdygod


          PHAHAHA! Now u lovin Charlie V!! I think I’ve proven my point.

          • Apr 3, 20128:55 pm
            by frankie d

            you’re so freakin stupid you can’t discern the difference between simply trying to recoup part of one’s investment and actually “liking” or “loving” a player.
            my view of CV has not changed and it probably never will change.
            he is who he is.  i don’t like him as a player and never will.  that is irrelevant.
            but the only thing dumber that you is the idea that teams should simply bury players without trying to find someway to either use them or move them in a trade.  and if CV doesn’t play, the team will never be able to move him.
            and devoting the rest of the season to trying to re-establish some value for him is worth a few more losses and it is definitely worth sitting ben w.

  • Apr 3, 20126:09 pm
    by Bygdygod


    *when we are

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