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Maurice Cheeks intimates Charlie Villanueva is out of shape

Oct 15, 2013, 12:36 PM EDT

Charlie Villanueva

Charlie Villanueva’s last good season came in 2008-09.

He’s due for another.

Villanueva hasn’t come close to the 16.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game he averaged five years ago, but the upcoming season brings a potentially key similarity to 2008-09: it’s a contract year.

After his breakout season with the Bucks, Villanueva got a five-year, $37.7 million contract from the Pistons and has continuously disappointed since. Pistons fans hoped a contract year would at least motivate Villanueva into one quality season in Detroit, potentially even making him trade bait.

That plan is off to a poor start.

David Mayo of MLive:

Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks speculated that Charlie Villanueva’s 0-of-8 shooting on 3-pointers in two preseason games is the product of training-camp legs. “If you’re a shooter, you’ve got to get yourself in that shape to be able to make those shots,” Cheeks said.

“If you’re a rebounder, you’re not rebounding, they find somebody to rebound. If you’re a shooter, you don’t shoot, they find somebody to shoot,” he said.

Villanueva shot 2-for-4 on 3-pointers in Detroit’s third preseason game, but that still leaves him a woeful 2-for-12. We’re dealing with a small sample size, obviously in individual games, but also in the entirety of the preseason. Assuming Cheeks is basing his evaluation on more than just Villanueva’s in-game 3-point shooting stats, though, this becomes much more meaningful.

With bad shooter Josh Smith and non-shooters Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond comprising the starting front line, the Pistons could use a stretch four in their rotation, so Villanueva has an opportunity. But Jonas Jerebko is also vying for that same backup spot. He doesn’t have the shooting ability of Villanueva, but Jerebko can be a better defender and rebounder, and he’s also at least a passable perimeter shooter when being selective.

Villanueva still has time to work his way into shape, and many players use the preseason precisely for that purpose. But the Pistons have to be disappointed Villanueva – the man John Calipari once called too fat for the Dominican national team – isn’t better positioned to prove himself in a contract year.

Then again, maybe Joe Dumars is just better off without the temptation to re-sign Villanueva.

  1. kb2408 - Oct 15, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    Charlie V has had a decent career but he’s the classic example of a guy that has really underachieved.

  2. bougin89 - Oct 15, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    This is one of those contracts where the minute it was signed it was questioned heavily. I watched him as a Bucks player and couldn’t believe anyone paid him that much.

    • fredgb21 - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:38 AM

      “This is one of those contracts… blah blah”

      Nice recycled thoughts from a news article. Actually there’s been 100’s of worse contracts in recent years, the CV and BG signings coincided with the decline of the Pistons and thus were associated with desperation and have been repeatedly pointed out as terrible deals. But CV only made 7 mill per. That is a very average contract, especially for a productive big. I’m not saying its a great deal, but if you wanted to challenge me to worse deals I’m pretty sure I’d have a long list I could throw down. The reason CV gets pointed out so much is because of the circumstance of the franchise and you’re just repeating what you’ve been told.

      • bougin89 - Oct 21, 2013 at 1:40 PM

        This contract is basically the equivalent to Drew Gooden’s contract with the Bucks. When was Charlie V a productive big man for the Pistons? He had one OK year and the pistons overpaid for it. The only skill he had for being 6’10 was a capable 3 point shooter. The last two years and this year for CV $7.5, $8.0 and $8.5 million a year. I can’t remember one person saying this was a good deal when it was signed. 100’s of worse contracts in recent years? Their have been worse ones but certainly not 100’s of worse ones.

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