Charlie Villanueva used his minutes in a blowout loss to the Knicks Sunday productively, and that performance gave him another crack at the backup power forward minutes against Portland. Villanueva once again took advantage and played well.
“We’ll continue to look, barring (mismatched) matchups, at playing Andre and Greg together,” Frank said. “You’ve got to look early. And then, when we have to get Greg out, we’ll sub Charlie in for Greg and keep Andre in. This is all, again, based on performance, foul trouble, all the other variables that come into play.”
I would much prefer that those minutes Villanueva is getting go to one of the team’s young players, but if Villanueva joining the rotation means Drummond and Monroe play together more, as Frank is suggesting, that’s fine with me.
Jerebko is not the only player in danger of falling out of the rotation, however. Mayo also reported that Will Bynum could be losing backup point guard minutes to Rodney Stuckey, who played well in that role against Portland:
“Yeah, we’ll look at it,” Frank said, when asked directly if Stuckey is his backup point guard. “Will has obviously been playing those spots but just trying to find minutes for Rodney on the floor, whether it’s at point or two, whatever we need to do, and we just kind of read the game and see who’s playing well. And if you’re playing well, you get more minutes. If you’re struggling, then you don’t.”
You probably won’t find a bigger Bynum fan anywhere on these internets than I am, but as Sean Corp of Detroit Bad Boys ably pointed out, dude is struggling this season.
The Pistons are at a point that any veteran player with no long-term future here losing minutes to younger players is a positive. Of course, that’s not exactly what is happening here yet — Jerebko and Bynum out of the rotation seem to be just opening up opportunities for two more veterans with no real future in Detroit, Villanueva and Maggette, to get playing time. The preference would obviously be to bench under-performing veterans in favor of guys like Kim English, Khris Middleton and Slava Kravtsov, all of whom have received scant playing time this season. But considering how hesitant Frank seemed to make changes to his rotation, I guess any change is a good change for now.