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Quietly Charlie Villanueva has become solid part of Pistons

Dec 11, 2012, 1:26 PM EDT

Charlie Villanueva, Stephen Curry AP

For the first month of the season, Charlie Villanueva might as well have been a ghost. You saw only fleeting glimpses of him in a Pistons uniform, seemingly out of the corner of your eye. Up to Nov. 23, Villanueva had only set foot on the court three times, for a total of 20 minutes.

But Monday night, he played 22 minutes and had eight points and five boards off the bench. He’s become an important, solid and efficient part of the Pistons bench, shooting 40 percent from three and getting rebounds. He still has a solid midrange game. He has combined that to earn a PER of 16.3.

Coach Lawrence Frank has come around on Villanueva, reports the Detroit News.

“He has a high basketball IQ and I want to make sure he fully takes advantage of that,” coach Lawrence Frank said.

Villanueva talks about just trying to make the game easier for guys like Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey.

“When I’m on the floor, I spread the floor and make stuff easier for other guys,” Villanueva said. “They can’t pack the paint with me out there.”

Detroit almost used its amnesty clause on Villanueva last summer, because they owe him $8 million this season and next. And while that’s pricy (and they would love to trade him) now they are getting something from him (after last season when he was out of shape and injured). His rebounding is average as is his shooting, but he is consistent and on these Pistons solid and consistent play is welcomed as an upgrade.

He’s going to continue to get minutes, and while he’s not ready for your fantasy team he’s a welcome addition to the Pistons rotation now.

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