Has the Pistons' history made adjusting to life in Detroit more difficult on Charlie Villanueva than it needed to be?

This may qualify as shameless self promotion, but hey, what are blogs for?

My first contribution to SLAM! is online now, and it discusses Charlie Villanueva. Here’s an excerpt:

Leave it to a sports talk radio personality to be a loudmouth, but the first question Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva fielded on media day spoke for a lot of Pistons fans, even if it did so in a less than tactful manner.

“What do you say to people who think you’re soft?” the reporter asked. Villanueva, taken aback slightly by the bluntness of the question, fought back whatever emotion he was feeling. Resisting the urge to react in the defensive, he gave the diplomatic and even-keeled response we’ve grown to expect from Charlie V, one of the most accessible players in the NBA.

But that niceness might be the root of the reason Charlie V has not been embraced by fans the way a young high profile free-agent signing is expected to be. Villanueva signed a contract that will pay him in excess of $7 million a year to play the frontcourt in Detroit for the next five years. Legendary Pistons like Bill Laimbeer, Rick Mahorn, Dennis Rodman, Corliss Williamson, Rasheed Wallace and Ben Wallace have manned that position over the years. And let’s face it — as funny as it would be to see the reaction, no reporter would dare ask any of those guys about being soft.

Basically, the premise is that Villanueva is pretty much the opposite of every successful big man the Pistons have had in the last 30 years or so. Playing power forward/center in Detroit inevitably will bring comparisons and there’s definitely an expectation for a blue-collar style of play for anyone manning those spots as a Piston. I also toss out a couple of perhaps better former Pistons to compare Villanueva to.

Check it out if you’re so inclined and feel free to leave thoughts here or at SLAM! if you’re so inclined.

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