If Charlie Villanueva's first season in Detroit was disappointing, his second season was downright depressing. Last season, by contrast, felt like some weird form of performance art where the audience was more of a victim than a viewer. It started with a four game suspension for the tough guy "Ima meet you at the LOADING DOCK!" nonsense, then there was some mysterious ankle injury that kept him out for the "few weeks" that turned into two months. Then he came back from injury for exactly 3:20 of game time only to injure his other ankle... from running. It was the worst season of his career. It was a horrible thing to witness.
Will this season be any different?
Charlie Villanueva: 2011-12 Year in Review
7 points, 3.7 rebounds, .5 assists, .5 steals, .4 blocks, .5 turnovers, 38.5% shooting
Given that Charlie played only eight meaningful games in 2011-12, there's not much more to say beyond the intro at the top of this article. When Charlie did play, fans saw more of the same. Lots of three pointers, fouling as defense, the body language we've come to know and love. There's little more to say than that.
2012-13 Projected Production
The frontcourt just got a whole lot more crowded in Detroit. While Charlie's offense is suited toward a first-big-off-the-bench role, his defense has him at the bottom of the roster. The new guys, Andre Drummond and Slava Kravtsov, hang their hat as post-minded, defensive shot-blockers, so despite their inexperience they may offer more than Charlie on our end of the court. If they can grab 8-10 minutes a piece, that playing time won't come from Greg Monroe, it'll likely slide The Moose to power forward and pull time from Jason Maxiell and Charlie Villanueva. This has Charlie looking up in the depth chart at not only Jason Maxiell and Jonas Jerebko, but two rookies that don't even play his position.
It should be clear at this point that Villanueva just isn't in the team's long term plans, so why should he be given a shot at significant burn? He has two seasons left on his contract, and there's little to suggest that his tenure in Detroit could end any better than how it started. With that, expect CV31 to spend these next two years as the team's $8,000,000-a-year cheerleader at the end of the bench.
12 minutes, 6.1 points, 2.1 rebounds, .3 assists, .3 steals, .3 blocks, .5 turnovers, 44% shooting
If Charlie Villanueva receives significant playing time in 2012-13, it'll likely result from an injury to a player above him in the depth chart. If that happens, his extended minutes shouldn't be too much fun to watch. He won't post up enough and he'll show off that one go-to defensive move: fouling.
It's unfortunate, because if he was more durable and could have developed his defense in recent years, he could be a very useful figure in Detroit. While nearly every fan and media outlet was convinced that this team needed a defensive, shot-blocking big this summer, I wasn't amongst them. This team's defense was improved under Lawrence Frank, but it suffered with one of the absolute worst offenses in the league. The team needs scoring, effective and efficient scoring, and when Charlie Villanueva is used right, he can provide that. Sadly, the only thing that Charlie can shut down is himself. In that regard, he's got a spotless record.