Charlie Villanueva

Maurice Cheeks intimates Charlie Villanueva is out of shape


Charlie Villanueva’s last good season came in 2008-09.

He’s due for another.

Villanueva hasn’t come close to the 16.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game he averaged five years ago, but the upcoming season brings a potentially key similarity to 2008-09: it’s a contract year.

After his breakout season with the Bucks, Villanueva got a five-year, $37.7 million contract from the Pistons and has continuously disappointed since. Pistons fans hoped a contract year would at least motivate Villanueva into one quality season in Detroit, potentially even making him trade bait.

That plan is off to a poor start.

David Mayo of MLive:

Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks speculated that Charlie Villanueva’s 0-of-8 shooting on 3-pointers in two preseason games is the product of training-camp legs. “If you’re a shooter, you’ve got to get yourself in that shape to be able to make those shots,” Cheeks said.

“If you’re a rebounder, you’re not rebounding, they find somebody to rebound. If you’re a shooter, you don’t shoot, they find somebody to shoot,” he said.

Villanueva shot 2-for-4 on 3-pointers in Detroit’s third preseason game, but that still leaves him a woeful 2-for-12. We’re dealing with a small sample size, obviously in individual games, but also in the entirety of the preseason. Assuming Cheeks is basing his evaluation on more than just Villanueva’s in-game 3-point shooting stats, though, this becomes much more meaningful.

With bad shooter Josh Smith and non-shooters Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond comprising the starting front line, the Pistons could use a stretch four in their rotation, so Villanueva has an opportunity. But Jonas Jerebko is also vying for that same backup spot. He doesn’t have the shooting ability of Villanueva, but Jerebko can be a better defender and rebounder, and he’s also at least a passable perimeter shooter when being selective.

Villanueva still has time to work his way into shape, and many players use the preseason precisely for that purpose. But the Pistons have to be disappointed Villanueva – the man John Calipari once called too fat for the Dominican national team – isn’t better positioned to prove himself in a contract year.

Then again, maybe Joe Dumars is just better off without the temptation to re-sign Villanueva.

Dwyane Wade serious as mentor, teaching Justise Winslow post moves

Third day of Miami Heat camp 10/1/2015
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Dwyane Wade has earned his status as an elder statesman, the E.F. Hutton kind of veteran who speaks and everybody listens.

Rookie Justise Winslow is listening.

Winslow (who should have gone higher in this draft) is a perfect fit for the Heat and he’s going to be part of their rotation off the bench from the start of the season (along with Josh McRoberts and Amare Stoudemire). Wade has already fully stepped into the mentor role with Winslow working with him on post moves, reports Jason Lieser at the Palm Beach Post.

“As his career develops, hopefully he’s able to do multiple things on the floor, but right now there’s gonna be certain things (Erik Spoelstra) wants him to do, and some of those things I’m good at,” Wade said. “I’m just passing down knowledge to someone who I think could be good at things that I have strengths at. It’s gonna take a while, but if he figures it out at 21, he’s ahead of the curve. I figured it out at like 27.

“All of us are where we’re at because someone before us helped us. They helped by letting us sit there and watch film with them or having conversations with them. If he’s a student of it and he really wants to know, I’m a pretty decent teacher in certain areas.”

This is what you want out of a veteran leader and some of the young teams out there have done an excellent job adding this kind of mentor — Kevin Garnett in Minnesota may be the best example. Someone who can pass on his wisdom and show the team’s young players how to be a professional and win in the NBA.

It’s a little different for Winslow, he and the Heat are more in a win-now mode, but he should be able to contribute to that.

NBA All-Star, champion Bill Bridges dies at age 76

ATLANTA - 1968:  Bill Bridges#10 of the Atlanta Hawks poses for a portrait circa 1968 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1968 NBAE (Photo by NBA Photo Library/NBAE via Getty Images)

Bill Bridges, a star as a Kansas Jayhawk who went on to have a 12-year NBA career that included being part of the 1975 Golden State Warriors championship team, has passed away, according to the University of Kansas.

Bridges was an undersized power forward at 6’6″ but he was a beast on the boards who averaged 11.9 rebounds a game for his career and more than 13 a game for six straight years at the peak of his career. That 11.9 per game average is still 27th all-time in NBA history.

A New Mexico native, Bridges was a three-time All-Star (all as a member of the Hawks), two-time All-NBA Defensive team, and was part of the 1975 Warriors title team. Besides the Hawks (St. Louis and Atlanta) and Warriors, Bridges played for the Sixers and Lakers.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.