He has all the attributes needed to be a superstar of the game but he can’t even find a regular starting spot on an NBA team.
Charlie V won a championship at the college level but his NBA career has been a rollercoaster ride. Villanueva is an enigma of the NBA.
Born in New York, Villanueva went to high school in New Jersey and then spent two productive season at the University of Connecticut.
He was part of a championship win in 2004. His career college numbers were 11.2 points and 6.7 rebounds, he could have done a lot more than that but he was on a college team loaded with talented players.
In the 2005 NBA draft, Villanueva was selected with pick number 7. That was good news for him, going in the top 10, but the bad news was the team and who they already had.
Toronto picked him, even though they had Chris Bosh there to play power forward. He was still productive in his rookie year, averaging 13 points and 6.4 rebounds. Proof of the range he had on his shot was that he hit 70 three-pointers for the season. He also added some steals and blocks. After that one season, the Raptors sent him and cash to Milwaukee for point guard TJ Ford.
Milwaukee seemed like a much better fit but Charlie V only managed to play around half the minutes of each game there. His playing time hovered around 24 to 27 minutes per game. Something talked about that limited his playing time was his lack of effort on the defensive end. That his best numbers for blocks came in his rookie year could indicate that is correct.
Playing for a new contract in season 2008-09, Villanueva lifted his scoring average from around 12 points per game that it was the previous two seasons to 16.2 points per game. That didn’t impress the Bucks as they didn’t seem interested in bringing him back. Maybe few teams were interested but one team was prepared to open the wallet to get him.
The Detroit Pistons had money to spend, at a time when few superstar free agents were available, and after giving guard Ben Gordon a huge contract they signed Villanueva to a contract estimated at around $35,000,000. He signed for starter’s money but has been in and out of that role as the Pistons go through some turbulent times. There have been times when young players Jerebko, Daye and Monroe have been ahead of him on the Detroit depth chart.
Villanueva’s numbers with Detroit have been solid, but not what they would want for the price. His field goal percentage, around 44%, is consistent with his career average. He has lifted his three-point percentage, getting close to 40%. But as he did with Milwaukee, Villanueva still only plays around half the game.
The Pistons have Villanueva long-term and maybe that will help him reach his potential. Tayshaun Prince is expected to leave as a free agent. Richard Hamilton could be traded away or have his contract bought out.
Those moves could open up minutes for Villanueva. He is listed at 6-11 and 232, Villanueva should be starring as he has an inside-outside game that should be tough for teams to defend. Maybe he is a player to watch in the future, or if he finds his way to a contending team he might develop into a Robert Horry type of player off the bench.