For a while now, Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News has been one of our favorite NBA beat writers. The Pistons scribe, through his work with the paper and on Twitter, manages to routinely turn one of the league's most boring and frustrating watches into an intriguing follow. The Pistons have been an NBA non-entity for the last 3 1/2 years, so Vincent has to go to some pretty great lengths in order to keep his readers entertained.
His most recent work would rank as a significant, if figurative, definition of "great lengths." In order to document beleaguered Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva's offseason workout regimen, Goodwill submitted to a physical horror show not meant for the sort of Ink-Stained Wretches detailed in this list that we were completely remiss in not including Vincent in. Vincent looks to be in pretty good shape, and Villanueva has long been criticized for his somewhat doughy frame, attitude, and play, so Goodwill would be able to keep up with one of CV's boxing-ring workouts, right?
Nah. Here's Goodwill's take:
But, seeing as how Villanueva said the workout would only go for about an hour on an early Tuesday morning, I couldn't get myself in that much trouble, right?
Wrong. Very wrong.
As I sat 25 minutes after the workout, contemplating how my life got to this point, with my stomach feeling like I had just attended my first frat party as a college freshman, holding my head because last night's pizza (mistake No. 2, according to Pistons strength and conditioning coach Arnie Kander) came up and a worker was spraying down the concrete with a water hose where I … "went," Irish's voice rang in my head from when I started the workout:
"Everybody throws up the first time."
Pizza is never a bad choice, but in this instance … probably not the best carbo-load you can prep with.
Beyond that, it's time to jump back to the realization that despite our constant criticism and needling, NBA players especially are in a universe of their own when it comes to working out. Charlie Villanueva probably does more on a Tuesday than a lot of us do in 20 days, just to not look doughy.
This doesn't mean CV is out of the woods.
The scoring forward has considerable gifts, but he played only 13 games last season, and it probably took an ownership change and the shrugged-shoulder query of "who do we pay to replace him?" in order for the Pistons to pass on utilizing the amnesty clause in order to cut the two years and $16.6 million he's owed off the team's books this summer.
Even on a team starved for scoring — the Pistons finished 26th out of 30 NBA teams last year in offensive efficiency — Detroit coach Lawrence Frank saw fit to only play Charlie 180 minutes in 2011-12. Villanueva is a smart and cheery guy with formidable NBA-sized gifts that is about to enter his prime years, and yet he's in danger of becoming an NBA-sized afterthought.
Thankfully, Villanueva appears to be doing something about it. A nice lefty jab and jump roping acumen don't directly lead to improved defensive habits or an uptick in rebounding totals (despite all the boxing out … hardy har), but if Charlie has been going hard at a relatively anonymous gym in suburban Detroit since June, then you cannot question his commitment. You can yell and moan the next time he doesn't slide-step over to meet a driving guard in two months, but for now it's fair to credit him with kicking a little tail in the offseason.
And it's also fair to hand Vincent Goodwill a laurel, and hearty handshake as he recovers from an early morning spent attempting to match the workout of a power forward we've all ripped on for not playing aggressively, and resting on his laurels.
Read Vincent's entire piece. It'll have you taking the stairs next time.
- Sports & Recreation
- Charlie Villanueva