In week two of PistonPowered contributing a Friday column to the Detroit Free Press, I focused on everyone’s favorite player to throw into implausible trade scenarios/amnesty discussions, Charlie Villanueva. To the surprise of many, perhaps, I actually think, should Andre Drummond/Vyacheslav Kravtsov combine to give productive minutes at the center spot, Villanueva’s shooting could give him a role that makes sense on this team for the first time in his Pistons tenure. An excerpt:
Quietly, though, with the events of this offseason, Villanueva actually kind of fits on this roster now, provided he’s in good shape and healthy when the season starts. Greg Monroe is hopefully going to be a fixture as the team’s starting power forward for the next 12 years or so. Ditto for Andre Drummond anchoring the middle as the team’s rim protecting defensive dynamo. Suddenly, the need for Villanueva to be a prototypical power forward or center is non-existent since those two spots in Detroit’s lineup are claimed for the foreseeable future.
Behind Monroe and Drummond, the Pistons have a versatile energy guy who crashes the offensive glass in Jonas Jerebko, a young albeit unproven shot-blocker in Vyacheslav Kravtsov and a beefy rebounder/shot-blocker/dunker/baby eater in Jason Maxiell.
Noticeably absent from that list is ‘stretch four.’
According to Keith Langlois’ observations so far, Villanueva does appear to be in good shape this offseason. The test, as always, for Villanueva is turning a productive offseason into a productive season. Maybe, with reduced expectations, this is the year. But even if it isn’t, the Pistons have no real incentive to amnesty him now or give up an asset just to move his contract like they did with the Gordon trade. Villanueva is (slightly) cheaper, big and, if it still doesn’t work out this year, they can amnesty him next offseason when they’ll have more significant cap space to pursue a better free agent class anyway.
Tags: Charlie Villanueva