Charlie Villanueva file photo. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
If there is one thing the Detroit Pistons have sorely lacked this season it is defense. But if there's two things the team has sorely lacked this season it is defense and outside shooting. Well, today comes news that could help solve one of those problems: Charlie Villanueva is actually making progress toward returning to game action.
Yes, the mysterious foot problems that have plagued the big man all season have improved and in Villanueva's words, he's made "a lot of progress" after partially immobilizing the troublesome foot, per David Mayo of Mlive.
This is heartening news, as it seemed for a while that Villanueva would be lost for the season, and might even require surgery on the ankle, with Villanueva himself lending some credence to these thoughts.
Villanueva has played two games for a total of only six minutes this season. There is no telling how long it will be until Charlie V. gets on the floor once he begins basketball-related activities, as he has been largely unavailable throughout training camp and into the first 30 games of the season.
It could be several weeks before he is back into game shape, and in fact, Mayo would only go so far as to say Villanueva expects to play this season.
The Pistons rank just 25th in 3-point field goals this season, averaging just four successful makes per game. Villanueva his best year from behind the arc last season for the Pistons, converting a career-best 38 percent from long range. And that increased efficiency didn't come because he was more selective in his shot as he attempted 41 more 3-pointers than his previous high.
Once he does return it is interesting to think about how the team would adjust its rotation to make room for Villanueva. At first blush it would seem that it would cut into the over 25 minutes per game Jonas Jerebko is receiving, but I wouldn't be surprised if Frank actually played the active Jerebko with the much less active Villanueva, which would slide Jerebko into a (perhaps more natural) small forward role. In that case, the team would be filling in the 3-point role that is currently occupied by the maddening and disappointing Austin Daye with Charlie V.
But we'll save further speculation for another day, perhaps when Villanueva has graduated from "basketball moves" into "full-contact practices."