2012-13 Year in Review
Andrea Bargniani and Michael Beasley were arguably the worst players in the NBA last year. However, Charlie Villanueva's only edge over the two came defensively and on the boards. I know, right? But it's an indication of just how bad Villanueva is these days, that he's in the conversation for one of the worst players in the league.
He saw little action for the first month of the season as the Pistons struggled to a 3-10 start. Somewhat unfortunately, when Villanueva received his chance at the rotation he came out shooting the ball well, heading into the All Star break at 39% from three. Thanks to streaky shooting, a lack of depth in the frontcourt, and the need for three point threats alongside Andre Drummond, Villanueva managed to play a considerable amount of minutes last year.
Villanueva's shooting declined each month as the season progressed, and his minutes soon followed. To be honest, there were times when his shooting legitimately helped the team. He was able to catch fire and actually space the floor for the second unit. He had games where he scored 19 points in 20 minutes, 18 points in 19 minutes, and 17 points in 19 minutes.
Just the same, he managed to accomplish a career low in points per 36 minutes despite putting up a shot at every opportunity. It's difficult to overstate just how bad he was to finish the year. Bringing nothing to the table other than scoring, from January on Villanueva put up 44% true shooting compared to the league average for power forwards of 53.4%.
Areas to Improve in 2013-14
Charlie Villanueva is apparently a stretch four. However, he isn't a particularly good shooter - the average power forward is right in line with his 34.7% career three point shooting. If he's going to carve out a role for the Pistons this season or earn a contract next year, he is going to have to be able to offer at least more than the league average at the stuff he's supposed to be good at. Last season his only chance to crack the rotation was to do what he did - come out shooting well. That's even more so the case this year.
CV has always been a solid finisher at the rim, but he offers virtually nothing else inside the arc. He was also comically bad from the free throw line - on February 6 Andre Drummond actually had the second worst free throw percentage on the team.
2013-14 Projected Production
Hopefully none. There won't be many backup big man minutes available, but the few that are should be left for Tony Mitchell, Jonas Jerebko, and Josh Harrellson to figure out. The little that Villanueva offers in floor spacing abilities is easily replicated by these three and without all of the negatives. At this point it should be abundantly clear that CV is the worst player on the roster and really ought to spend the season inactive.
Likely, the most interesting impact that Villanueva will make this season will be with his expiring contract. Will Dumars use the contract to bring on additional talent or let him expire to make room for Greg Monroe's extension next year? Rumors have already popped up (and been shot down) of an offer of Villanueva and Stuckey for Rudy Gay. Such a deal would put the Pistons near the luxury tax after an extension for Monroe, marking Tom Gores' first test for paying big money in hopes of a contender - and leveraging a challenge to fans to fill the seats.