Oct 12, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Charlie Villanueva (3) during the game against the Indiana Pacers at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Right now, the Mavs are trying to move some pieces, clear a little roster space, and Charlie V may be one of the reasons.
Honestly, I want Charlie Villanueva to do well. I want it for lots of reasons, the first of which is that Doyle Rader, of Mavs Moneyball, doesn’t want that to happen and he is my arch-nemesis.
The second is that I’ve been jokingly calling CV “Vince Carter 2” for a month or so now. There are problems with that sobriquet. While VC is an all-time great, with a career 3-pt % of 38%, who reinvented himself on the Mavs with a little bit of tough D, Charlie Villanueva is none of those things and worse than Vince at the one thing Charlie’s okay at, which is shooting 3s. So, it’s not a perfect match.
Plus, Charlie’s last season shooting threes was sub-Josh Smith levels, so, sure, maybe it’s the case that now he doesn’t do anything well. On the other hand….
Once upon a time Charlie averaged 16.2-6.7, shooting 48% from the floor and 34.5% from three, and he’s only 30 years old, which is more than can be said for, say, Gal Mekel. There’s a sense in which Charlie V. started out as a bad player not because he was all that bad in an actual way but because he was way, way worse than the contract he got, which was part of a binge the Pistons went on, where they signed him and Ben Gordon for a combined NINETY MILLION over five years.
This was in the offseason in 2009. Crushed under the weight of a number too large, Charlie—who was never again a full-time starter—would manage another adequate season or two before absolutely bottoming out. In his last three years he shot a combined 37% from the floor (not from the arc, not from the floor)…
And then here we are.
Here’s the good news. Through three preseason games, Charlie is doing well at things he should be doing well at. We all remember people pretending Dom Jones was a thing ‘cause he had a decent summer league, but you have to pay attention to how he was doing it, which was at the free-throw line, which was NEVER going to happen…
Charlie’s hitting threes. That’s reasonably plausible. And he’s not grabbing too few rebounds either. In 35 minutes of playing time, he’s hit 8 threes (on 16 attempts) and grabbed 9 boards. That’s not the horrifying, at least not in a “New Paris Hilton Movie” kind of way.
It’s a little horrifying that he has 21 attempts in 35 minutes. And that, for a guy who attempted around 600 two-pointers a game for his good years, to only 250 or so threes, all but 5 of his shots so far have been threes. Maybe that’s the Mavs system, but it probably isn’t. Even Vince Carter the First had his occasional dunks and attempted-twisting-finger-rolls-that-ended-with-him-like-four-feet-from-the-rim-oops. The number isn’t red on VC 2, right now, but it ‘s probably orange. This is probably the best he can play, which is the bad news.
In all probability, Charlie Villanueva will mean nothing for the Mavs this year, if he even makes the team.
But wouldn’t it be sweet if he did?
Mmm, so sweet.