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3-on-3: Almost-midseason grades for Luigi Datome, Jonas Jerebko and Charlie Villanueva

Modeled after ESPN’s 5-on-5, three of us will answer three questions about a Pistons-related topic. Please add your responses in the comments.

1. When he was signed this summer, Luigi Datome was hailed as a great shooter… well, that hasn’t been the case yet. What’s his almost-midseason grade?

Dan Feldman: Datome was signed to stretch floor, but he’s made just 6-of-31 3-pointers, giving him a worse percentage from beyond the arc than Chris Andersen. His defense has actually been good enough to get a dead-eye shooter on the floor. He just hasn’t shown he can shoot. Maybe he would shoot better with more-consistent minutes, but he hasn’t shown himself to be deserving of a bigger opportunity. Datome is caught in a catch-22. GRADE: F

Brady Fredericksen: Datome’s been a ‘shooter’ who can’t really shoot thus far in his Pistons’ career. That’s probably not totally his fault — he’s proven throughout his European career that he is a good shooter — but the situation he’s been in has hurt him. There aren’t many Brent Barrys or Kyle Korvers floating around who can just jump on the court and be automatic from deep. Datome isn’t that guy, but shooters need shots and court time to find their rhythm, and Datome’s limitations defensively have made it hard to put him on the floor for long stretches. GRADE: D-

Tim Thielke: Datome was signed for one reason: to be a shooter. I still think he can be a very good shooter in this league (the ball just looks so pretty going up). But so far, the results have been miserable. He is 6-of-31 from downtown. Of players who have attempted at least 30 threes, only Tyreke Evans’ 7-of-37 is worse. His 20-for-42 from two and 2-for-4 from the stripe are not good either. And his D has been as bad as advertised. Grade: F

2. Jonas Jerebko has had an up-and-down career in Detroit, and this season has been another inconsistent one for the once promising forward. How does he grade out, so far?

Dan Feldman:  Jerebko’s shot selection has improved immensely, leading to career-best 55 percent shooting on 2s and 45 percent shooting on 3s. But what’s happened to his offensive rebounding, which was once his best skill? And why is he turning the ball over at a disturbingly high rate? I suspect both would regress toward his career averages in a larger sample, but for now, they weigh down his grade. GRADE: D+

Brady Fredericksen: He’s a victim of circumstance right now. Could Jerebko be a player who can help the Pistons every night? Of course. Has he chilled out and gone back to the scrappy player he burst onto the scene as? Surprisingly, yes. But with the minutes at both forward spots being occupied by guys who are better (Josh Smith, Greg Monroe) or a better fit (Kyle Singler, Datome) he’s just kind of stuck where he is. GRADE: C

Tim Thielke: Jerebko has mostly fallen out of the rotation this season so he has to get docked for that. But when he has played, he’s done everything we could ask of him and more. His 52/45/71 splits are terrific. All his per-minute stats are at career highs (so career bests apart from TOs). And he has gone back to making hustle plays. However, Jerebko is on the books for $4.5M and has played 201 minutes. That’s pretty bad. GRADE: B-

3. To say that Charlie Villanueva hasn’t been a fan favorite in Detroit is, um, an understatement. Playing out the final year of his contract, what grade has he earned at the almost-midway point?

Dan Feldman: Guess who leads the Pistons in shots per minute. After ceding the crown to Will Bynum last season, Villanueva is back on top. Villanueva is probably playing the worst basketball of his career. He’s stopped rebounding, at least for a player his size. Chauncey Billups is the only Piston who has taken a higher percentage of his shots from beyond the arc. Considering Villanueva has made only 24 percent of his 3s, that’s really killed his productivity. On the bright side, he hasn’t stood out as particularly inept defensively, but that’s probably only because he hasn’t been on the court long enough to make a mark on that end. GRADE: F

Brady Fredericksen: All I have to say about Charlie V at this point is that he’s playing for his NBA livelihood, he’s playing on a team literally desperate for guys who can simply put the ball in the hoop from 3-point range — and he’s failed miserably so far on both accounts. GRADE: F

Tim Thielke: Villanueva has also mostly fallen out of the rotation. The difference between him and Jerebko is that when he has seen the floor, he’s done everything the opponent could ask of him and more. His 39/23/60 splits are terrible. His per-minute rebounding is at a career low and his turnovers nearly a high. He doesn’t defend or make hustle plays. And he’s on the books for $8.5M and has played 109 minutes. That’s really, really bad. GRADE: F-

28 Comments

  • Jan 14, 20143:47 pm
    by bob

    Reply

    what do you think about maybe pursuing Rondo provided he looks well on Friday?  it may be time for drastic measures, and that may be trading Monroe.  
    Jennings and Monroe for Rondo and Jordan Crawford,  picks added accordingly.  Much rather trade smith, but doubt there’s a market for him.

    • Jan 15, 201410:02 am
      by Jodi aka "The Guru"

      Reply

      We’re not trading Monroe any time soon…

      • Jan 15, 20142:49 pm
        by bob

        Reply

        why not? his talents are being wasted by our situation with our bigs, and he hasn’t shown much improvement from last year.  i would prefer to keep him obviously, but i’d give him up for Rondo because man that dude is a beast, provided he’s healthy.

  • Jan 14, 20145:34 pm
    by brgulker

    Reply

    Other than Drummond, I’m not sure anyone on this team deserves higher than a C+. 

    • Jan 14, 20149:46 pm
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      You just gave Mitchell a B and Harrellson a A+ yesterday!

      • Jan 14, 201410:35 pm
        by Tim Thielke

        Reply

        Things apparently changed very rapidly.

  • Jan 14, 20146:10 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    Datome to me has been a HUGE disappointment. I like most piston fans really thought that the one thing he was brought here to do ‘hit shots’ would easily translate to the NBA game. I bet you Datome is kicking himself he didn’t sign with the Spurs who were rumoured to be interested in him. I put a lot of his issues down to coaching and not putting him in the right situations but a lion share of the blame has to go to him too as guys with lesser opportunities than he has gotten have succeeded (GRADE E-).
     
    Jerebko to me has never been the same player since he ruptured his achilles. He just doesn’t have the same bounce in his step that he did pre-injury which is a shame because I really loved the way he played. I feel he now is trying to find a niche from being that hustle type player to a stretch 4 which we all know he is not. I guess if you could combine CV’s shooting ability with Jerebko’s heart you’d have a really good stretch 4… I’d say a Ryan Anderson that plays good D and hustles (GRADE E).
     
    Villanueva to me is the biggest waster of talent that of all NBA players still pulling a pay check. There is no reason why he shouldn’t have played his way into our rotation. The one thing he does well is shoot the 3 is the one thing we need more than anything and he still can’t get on the floor. I mean CV didn’t even bother giving one of his false ‘I’m coming back bigger and better this season’ promises that he did year after year via twitter or reporter. If I was him I’d be worried where my next check is coming from because even the Dominican Republic national team didn’t wan’t him. If he thinks he’ll just go to Europe and get a gig there then he is kidding himself. Those leagues a really physical and they play great defence which we all know he has no clue what that is (GRADE F).

  • Jan 14, 20147:35 pm
    by lemonpen

    Reply

    CV is his own worst enemy.  His shooting form is different on each chuck.  When on and hitting he becomes a walking heat check who takes increasingly difficult shoots until cooling himself off.  I don’t feel bad at all for the bench time.

  • Jan 15, 20141:05 am
    by MrHappyMushroom

    Reply

    I, for one, am really glad that Mo Cheeks has started keeping Harrellson and Jonas on the bench, while giving burn to the superior talent and production that is Charlie Villanueava.
     
    Seriously, what on earth could the rationale be?  Christ, just throw Mitchell in there and let him learn.  But don’t waste *any* minutes on an overpaid guy in the last five months of his contract, who can’t really shoot (and whose best attribute is his shooting).

    • Jan 15, 20142:54 am
      by gmehl

      Reply

      You forgot twittering and planking as attributes

  • Jan 15, 201410:01 am
    by Jodi aka "The Guru"

    Reply

    I know this is off topic, but I have to say this…Watch out for the Pistons getting Jordan Crawford!..

    • Jan 15, 201412:30 pm
      by PistonFanSinceDay1

      Reply

      Wrong! Crawford is being traded to the Warriors. -1 for Mr. Guru

  • Jan 15, 201410:10 am
    by JYD for Life

    Reply

    I think Datome is more of a scorer than a shooter.  Guys like that need to be in rythym or know when they’re coming into games. 
    His minutes have fluctuated so much, he can’t be expected to contribute.  
    Given the guy was the MVP of an entire league last year, it’s hard to belithe that with consistent minutes, he can’t be an average player in the league.  
     

    • Jan 15, 201410:21 am
      by Huddy

      Reply

      I think this very likely could be true, but if it is he is not a good fit.  The Pistons don’t have enough forward minutes to give him lengthy stints out there.  They really need the kind of guy that can come in and hit a couple of shots in low minutes.  He will likely find it difficult to break through in the league if he needs a size-able minutes contribution before he can prove himself. 

      • Jan 15, 201410:26 am
        by Tim Thielke

        Reply

        “The Pistons don’t have enough forward minutes to give him lengthy stints out there.”

        Is there a single team in the league with more capacity than the Pistons to carve big minutes out for a sweet shooting SF?

        • Jan 15, 201411:04 am
          by Chris

          Reply

          I’m going to pretend that this is not rhetorical. Possibly the Grizz maybe the wolves (who also need all of the shooting they can get), other than that, no.

        • Jan 15, 201411:13 am
          by Huddy

          Reply

          I didn’t realize 6/31 was “sweet shooting”.
           
          My point is that if he is the kind of player that needs a lot of shots to get it going then he is going to have a hard time getting a real chance even if his only competition is a guy like Singler.  Being a 3pt specialist he starts to look like CV out there.  He comes in for around 5 minutes and every time he catches the ball you expect him to shoot and if he misses his 2-3 attempts he is a failure.  Basically, I don’t see how the Pistons have the minutes to let him figure it out.  They have plenty of minutes for someone who is shooting it well.  The team might benefit from giving him a few games in a row with substantial minutes to see if he can find his range, but its hard to justify that when they are in a hole record-wise and Singler is hustling and defending at a reasonable level.  Datome might be the kind of player that will only get a chance to break out on a tanking team or one with injury issues at his position. 

          • Jan 15, 201412:26 pm
            by Tim Thielke

            6/31 is not sweet shooting. That’s why he got Fs.

            But if any team has minutes at SF for him to figure it out, it’s the Pistons. They just don’t have a single good SF on the roster (low downside) and they really need another shooter (high upside if he can get it going).

            I guess my point is that if Datome is a poor fit in Detroit, he’s a poorer fit everywhere else.

          • Jan 15, 201412:35 pm
            by Huddy

            Thats why I said it would be difficult for him to break out in the league in general.  Even if a team needs a good SF not a lot have a big chunk of minutes to give an unproven guy to see if he can figure out his stroke if he is supposed to be a shooting specialist.  I think only tanking or injury ridden teams can take that big of a chance on a guy like that.  Hes an F right now which is worse than Singler and the Pistons can’t afford much risk if they are trying to win now.

  • Jan 15, 201410:45 am
    by JYD for Life

    Reply

    well until they move one of the bigs to the bench or via trade, it will be tough.  
    Isn’t the 3-PT line significantly shorter overseas?  From what I remember, it was at least NCAA distance, if not closer.  

    • Jan 15, 201411:10 am
      by Chris

      Reply

      It is, but it’s shorter at the corners in the NBA. Not sure where Datome shoots from though.

      Below it doesn’t say that the corner is 22 ft exactly.

      NBA: Arc radius 23 feet 9 inches (7.24 m), no less than 3 feet (0.91 m) from each sideline[7]
      WNBA: Arc radius 22 feet 1.75 inches (6.7501 m), no less than 3 feet 4 inches (1.02 m) from each sideline[8]
      FIBA: Arc radius 6.75 meters (22.1 ft), no less than 0.9 meters (3.0 ft) from each sideline[9]
      NCAA: Arc radius 20 feet 9 inches (6.32 m), no less than 4 feet 3 inches (1.30 m) from each sideline[10]
      American High school basketball: Arc radius 19 feet 9 inches (6.02 m), no less than 5 feet 3 inches (1.60 m) from each sideline[11]

  • Jan 15, 201411:04 am
    by JYD for Life

    Reply

    Off topic as well – but wouldn’t Stuckey and Singler for Harrison Barnes and Marresse Speights make sense for both teams?  
    Barnes is highly coveted, so we would likely have to give a 2016 first rounder as well.  
    GS wouldn’t disrupt the culture, gets a backup PG/guy to get to the rim with Stuck and a tough shooter in Singler.  
    They sent a few first rounders to Utah this summer, so that might make sense to replenish.  
    I just don’t like not having a pick in two of the next three drafts.  

    • Jan 15, 201411:14 am
      by Chris

      Reply

      I was looking at that yesterday myself. I’d really hate to give up that pick(s), but if we were making the playoffs it wouldn’t be that high of a pick anyway. I think that’s probably what it would take to get Barnes.

    • Jan 15, 201411:21 am
      by Huddy

      Reply

      I don’t see Golden State making that move.  Barnes is a better shooter and more athletic than Singler.  With the risk of injury to Igoudala I think the benefit of Stuckey is less important than having Barnes on the team.  They are looking to win now and thats a little too much of a shake up for one of the main assets to be a pick in 2016. 

      • Jan 15, 201412:46 pm
        by Chris

        Reply

        I don’t really buy it either, except for 1st round picks. Those are pretty covetted these days. In terms of players, no GS would be dumb to do that.

        I was also looking at Phoenix. Its known they want a backup PG, we have Stuckey and Bynum. Stuckey could be a pg for a second unit, or maybe even a starter next to Dragic. It seems like there could be a deal here, but I think the player they have that we’d want the most IS Dragic, so… picks? I mean if they got stuckey, or bynum, or both we’d end up with something mid to late 1st round. Might be worth it.

        • Jan 15, 20145:58 pm
          by oats

          Reply

          Detroit can’t over a first round pick this year or next year. I don’t think Phoenix really wants to break up the Dragic and Bledsoe back court that was looking so good. Dragic is a better shooter and passer than Stuckey, and that allows him to cover for 2 of Bledsoe’s weaker areas. Stuckey is still a good enough passer to help some with that role, but not as much as Dragic can. Plus Stuckey is expiring, so they couldn’t count on him being a long term piece, so the real get would be in the draft. Detroit can’t offer a pick in this draft or the next one, so we’re talking about starting in 2016. Why would Phoenix move Dragic for a pick they won’t get to use for 2 years, and very well might not be any good if Drummond continues to improve? That’s a pretty bad return for breaking up a really good back court. They would probably do it for a pick in this draft, but not 2016. I mean, they were looking for a guy to back up Dragic, not to replace him.
           
          As for Detroit, do you really think Detroit’s in a position to give up another first round pick for a 27 year old that will cut into their cap space for next summer? Let’s say Stuckey and Bynum get moved for Dragic. The team will go from about $10 million in cap space to about $5.5 million. I like Dragic, but I wouldn’t be all that comfortable starting him next to Jennings. I think I’d rather take my chances with the $10 million in free agency while keeping the future draft pick. In fact, what I’d actually prefer to do is just trade Bynum for Ish Smith. I think Bynum is largely superfluous on this roster so his loss won’t really matter, and that move clears up even more room for next summer.

  • Jan 17, 20147:42 pm
    by joey479

    Reply

    Jonas Jerbeko is is honestly one of the better players on the Pistons. When ever he’s in he is productive and their offense seems to flow better. How does Josh Harrellson get more minutes than him?

  • Feb 10, 201410:21 am
    by Stefano

    Reply

    I followed Gigi Datome in his career in Italy and I think he is a great player. His figures look terrible, but… with a 1:30 minutes average per game… can any shooter really express himself? Bit silly. Hope that now with new coach a different rotation system can help Gigi to show his qualities. Surely rotations were the huge Cheeks problem. How many games with only 7/8 players with minutes in his 50 games? Crazy. I think the Pistons were unique in all the league for that!

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