Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva reportedly agreed to five-year deals with the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, for at least $50 million and $35 million, respectively, which should improve the values of both players.
Gordon, whose value is probably a bit inflated after his superhuman playoff performance against the Boston Celtics, finally nabs the big-time contract he couldn’t get from the Chicago Bulls, while Villanueva lands on a playoff-contending team after being dissed by the Milwaukee Bucks. These moves are big improvements for the Pistons, who fell from grace after trading away Chauncey Billups in return for Allen Iverson for financial flexibility.
As an undersized shoot-first shooting guard, Gordon won’t lead the Pistons to any rings but gives them a go-to scorer. Offensively, Gordon and Villanueva will improve the team, but the signing of both players signals a departure from the defensive-minded Pistons teams of the past.
- Villanueva, who averaged 16.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists on 44.7 percent shooting from the field last year, should see his minutes (26:53 per game last season) increase significantly. Throw in the near-certain departures of big men Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess to free agency and it’s clear that the Pistons will lean on 6-foot-11 Villanueva to fill this void. Expect his numbers to rise across the board.
- Gordon, however, needs to hope that the Pistons trade away Richard Hamilton, which is a realistic possibility. If the team retains Hamilton, their backcourt will primarily be composed of Gordon, Hamilton and Rodney Stuckey, and only two can be on the floor at a time. This would mean that Gordon could very well be relegated to the sixth man role he had for so many years in Chicago, though it would seem unlikely that the Pistons would spend $10 million a year on a bench player. With the team’s present roster, Gordon should produce numbers similar to last season’s, with a couple fewer points, more assists and more turnovers a possibility.
- Stuckey, who the team is doing its best to groom as its star point guard, will continue to see significant minutes but consistency will be his main struggle, regardless of who plays with him. His value should be improved as he matures and sees defenses focus more on his new teammates, freeing him up a bit more.
- Hamilton should see fewer shots per game, but will still offer consistent value. If he gets traded, his value could change more drastically.
- Tayshaun Prince will likely see more rebounds, but the rest of his numbers should remain steady.
- Jason Maxiell and Kwame Brown will share most of the minutes at the Pistons’ shallow center position, but only Maxiell offers potential for marginal value. Villanueva may have to put in some minutes at center, too.