Charlie Villanueva believes tough times with Detroit helped him prepare for Mavericks
Charlie Villanueva never lived up to the hype that came with the 5-year, $40 million contract he signed when he joined Detroit in 2009. Limited by injuries, he played only 256 games (26 starts), averaging 9.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in 19.8 minutes per game, shooting .422/.355/.747, but never seemed to be a fit in Detroit.
Villanueva didn't receive much interest during the 2014 offseason, with questions about his motor and conditioning seemingly driving potential suitors away. He was eventually invited to the Dallas Mavericks' training camp and beat Bernard James, Ivan Johnson and Doron Lamb for the final roster spot. Charlie managed to carve himself out a role in Dallas as a 3-point specialist, and exceeded the front office's expectations, something he hopes will mean he'll be back for the Mavs next season.
The former Connecticut Husky told Mavs.com's Earl K. Sneed that his disappointing stint in Detroit is what motivated him to make the most of his time in Texas:
"It was just the hard times in Detroit preparing me for a moment like this," the sharpshooter explained. "I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Coach (Carlisle) always said to just stay ready and that the opportunity will come, but he just didn't know when. I just kept working on my craft, stayed sharp, and whenever my name was called I made the most of it.
"When I came in, I had to start from the bottom and earn my way back up. I had to add value to myself. Things happen for a reason. I was OK with that. I just made the most out of my situation here. For me personally, I had a great year. ... I like my role. I embraced it and I accepted it. I've been in the league for 10 years and been coached by nine different coaches. I would love to experience the same coach again next year, but we'll see."
Charlie Villanueva averaged 6.3 points and 2.3 rebounds for the Mavericks this season, shooting 38 percent from long range in 63 games regular season games and a scorching 42.1 percent during the playoffs. Rick Carlisle certainly seems keen on seeing Villanueva return to the team next year, as everything has worked out for Charlie since leaving Detroit. Villanueva even beat Rajon Rondo in Connect 4!
Bower: Van Gundy's dual role will help with player development
Fresh off a trip to Spain with Stan Van Gundy to watch Mario Hezonja and Kristaps Porzingis, Jeff Bower explained to Pistons.com's Keith Langlois why SVG's dual role will benefit the Pistons in the long term.
"Stan has a long-term approach," Bower told me as he gears up for the draft and the July opening of free agency. "He's got the ability to see a strength in a player and envision how he can work with that player on that strength to make it an even bigger strength. And then what he could take advantage of as a coach on the floor."
"Every coach has to believe in the draft pick and in the players that are added," he said. "When that coach has an active role in the evaluation process and the selection process and the developmental process, generally there's more buy-in and more of a chance for that prospect to be successful sooner. It's a plus that we have and it's up to us to take advantage of it."
The Pistons' only draft selection last year can attest to that, as Spencer Dinwiddie showed potential to be a legit NBA distributor, and had some very good performances against All-Star point guards John Wall and Derrick Rose. Stan Van Gundy also put a lot of faith in second-year man Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, as well as the duo of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. Brandon Jennings and new acquisition Reggie Jackson also played the best basketball of their career under his tutelage.
With Detroit holding two draft picks in this year's draft, all eyes are on the front office as the Pistons go into their first full offseason with Stan Van Gundy in control and how he retools a Motown team intent on competing in next year's playoffs.
Isiah Thomas: Golden State's Splash Brothers best shooting backcourt of all time
Few guard pairings have worked as well as Joe Dumars and Isiah Thomas did during the Bad Boys' heyday, but the two time championship backcourt might have to hand over the reins of NBA's unofficial best tandem award as the Golden State Warriors look to secure their first finals appearance since 1975 on the back of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry.
Curry, who was named the League's Most Valuable Player for 2015, has become one of the best pure shooting point guards the NBA has ever seen, and Klay Thompson is well on his way to becoming one of the better shooters at the 2-guard position. While Isiah Thomas lauded them as the best shooting backcourt of all time, he was quick to remind The Detroit Free Press' Perry A. Farrell that the Association has seen its fair share of rule changes that have protected shooters from the physicality the Bad Boys and the rest of the League would endure during their time.
"We can say they are the best shooting backcourt that we've seen, but we don't know how great others would have shot the basketball under these rules with no contact. When you look at a Reggie Miller or a Ray Allen, who had to shoot with hand checking and people bumping them ... it's just different without the physicality. That's not taking anything away from Thompson or Curry. Are they the best shooting backcourt I've ever seen? Absolutely. Just in terms of shooting the basketball it doesn't take a lot for me to say that. Those two can shoot. There's no disputing that."
Would Dumars and Thomas still reign as the best backcourt duo if they played in the current NBA? Could the Splash Brothers recreate their success during the Bad Boys era? Have your say in the comments.
Tweet of the Week
Seems accurate to me https://t.co/Wx9aDQApgz— Spencer Dinwiddie (@SDinwiddie_25) May 7, 2015