Saturday, February 27, 2010

Villanueva Must Utilize Size

One goal the Pistons should set for their final stretch of the season should be revitalizing forward Charlie Villanueva, who's been extremely inconsistent of late. At 6'11", he has both the size and ball-handling to be a legitimate scoring option near the basket, something the team is in dire need of.

Lately, Villanueva has struggled with multiple injuries. Because of this, he appears hesitant to take the ball into the defense. Instead, he's been drifting around the perimeter seemingly on both ends of the court. If he's not healthy, Detroit should sit him down and use other big men like Kwame Brown or Chris Wilcox.

If his injuries are indeed behind him and he's healthy enough to play, Villanueva needs to start playing with a higher degree of physicality. He should get down low on offense, particularly if he's playing on the second unit against backup players. Villanueva has the ability to post-up inside - he was doing that at the start of the season before his injuries started - and can do so either with his back to the basket or facing his opponent and driving the lane.

At this point, the Pistons are still trying to guage the talent on this current roster. They signed Villanueva last summer to a hefty contract on the first day of free agency, so they obviously have enough confidence in his game. They did not sign him, however, to simply drift around the perimeter. They had that the last few years with Rasheed Wallace, and it proved to be ineffective offense.

The time is now for Detroit to imply an offense that allows Villanueva to get closer to the basket for scoring attempts. Above all, it would allow him to take and possibly make easier shots, gain some confidence and enable him to step outside after establishing a rhythm. This creates better scoring opportunities not only for Villanueva but for his teammates as well, and the Pistons will take any points they can get.

Steve St-Pierre
Sports Writer
In Play! Magazine

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