Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores probably smiles every time he sees Charlie Villanueva on the court for his team. If he’s going to pay Villanueva $8 million for one NBA season, Gore would obviously rather see the fifth-year Pistons forwards doing something, preferably scoring points and getting rebounds. It sure beats having the $8 million sitting on the bench with his arms folded.
On Sunday night, the Pistons lost 110-95 at home to the Miami Heat, but there were plenty of bright spots for the home team. That includes seeing Villanueva make some worthwhile contributions for a change. He saw 15 minutes of action and was 4-of-8 from the floor, including 2-of-6 from the 3-point area for 10 points with two rebounds and one steal.
For the season, Villanueva has only seen action in six of the Pistons’ 21 games with averages of 8.7 minutes 5.7 points and 1.3 rebounds a game. He is shooting 46.7 percent from the floor, 31.6 percent in threes and is also waiting to take his first free throw. That contrasts with his career averages of 23.5 minutes, 11.7 points and 5.2 rebounds a game.
The Pistons have been waiting a long time for Villanueva to match or better his stats from the 2008-09 season when he was with the Milwaukee Bucks. He averaged 26.9 minutes, 16.2 points and 6.7 rebounds a game. That was enough to entice Pistons GM Joe Dumars to sign Villanueva to a free agent contract. It remains one of the dumbest transactions Dumars has ever arranged for the Pistons.
That’s why Gore had to be smiling watching Villanueva do something with his $8 million salary on Sunday. Its better than nothing.
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