Piston of the Week: Charlie Villanueva


Piston of the Week (3/17/2013 – 3/23/2013): Greg Monroe Charlie Villanueva

8.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, one smug fourth quarter barrage while shooting 39 percent from 3-point range. 

I actively tried to pick someone new this week. I gave Rodney Stuckey a hard look after a solid week last week, but he laid a pair of eggs before playing well against the Bobcats. Jose Calderon was solid, but he also left a game with the flu, likely caught by being exposed to the toxicity of a 10-game losing streak.

Hell, there was even a part of me that thought it’s worth giving the award to Charlie Villanueva because he was the one who keyed the team to its first win since February of 1994.

So I did.

With my apologies to Greg Monroe, who put together a super strong week and has apparently found a knack for cooking the Miami Heat, your Piston of the Week is Charlie Villanueva.

He wasn’t the best, nor was he even good for most of the week, but Charlie V did something that no Pistons player has been able to do in the last 10 games — step up and be “the guy” when the team needs it in the fourth.

Admittedly, there haven’t been that many chances for the Pistons to take control of a game during the streak of terrible, but Charlie V scored 17 frickin’ points in the fourth quarter on Saturday.

He showed more life than he has in a month(s) and was, however dirty it sounds to say this, the best player on the floor during the Pistons’ fourth-quarter comeback. He’s a streaky player, we know that, but when those wild 3-pointers are going down, his whole game opens up.

It also helps that he’s a match-up nightmare for the Bobcats, who tried to throw a mix of post and perimeter defenders on him. However, those defenders didn’t really defend Charlie at all in the fourth quarter — which allowed for him to be the recipient of  multiple drive-and-kick passes for open 3-pointers.

Seriously, he had a SportsCenter-worthy dunk and the game winner on a layup that came, gasp, off a HUSTLE PLAY. That’s what kind of game it was, Charlie V was scoring from everywhere, posterizing dudes and hustling to make winning plays.

Yeah, it was the Bobcats, and yeah, lottery balls say it’s probably better for this team to lose every game, but there isn’t always value in losing — it really messes with a team’s psyche. There’s a weird balance between rooting to win and rooting for draft position, and tonight, Charlie V trolled the entire “tank!” community by playing arguably the best fourth quarter of any Pistons player this season.

There’s something admirable about a guy, struggling and buried on the bench in the midst of a 10-game losing streak, being able to come in and do something good. It shows that someone on the team hasn’t totally quit — which, unfortunately, is something that appears to have happened at times during the streak.

So, cheers to Charlie V, occasionally earning his big contract pennies at a time, even in the worst of times!

Past Winners