Reports of Chauncey Billups’ demise greatly overstated
I know, I know. The big news last night was Carmelo Anthony‘s debut at Madison Square Garden and he didn’t disappoint. But Knicks fans have something else to be excited about after watching last night’s game. Chauncey Billups, Mr. Big Shot himself, was largely dismissed and discussed as basically a “throw-in” player in the blockbuster deal that sent ‘Melo to the Knicks.
Most consider him an aging player with diminishing skills and while he may not be the player he once was, he can still get it done! For a piece of the trade that was mostly written off as just a throw-in, he has the potential to be a huge part of the Knicks success this year and next. I know, most Knicks fans and male groupies don’t care until Chris Paul comes to the Garden, but Billups is a very solid piece to the puzzle.
There is no doubt that he’s a playoff proven, clutch player and he has tremendous experience playing with ‘Melo from their days in Denver. For a team with 4 new starters, that continuity and leadership cannot be overstated. Even in a drama filled first half in Denver this season he managed to average 16.5 ppg. He was even more impressive last night adding 21 points and 8 assists in the Knicks win over the Bucks.
Is Chauncey Billups the sexy addition that Chris Paul or Deron Williams would be? Of course not. But he’s a much better player, and a better immediate fit, than anyone has given him credit for since the trade. The Knicks, as any team that makes a move like this including the Heat, have huge holes to fill. But Chauncey removes one of those massive holes with a veteran, clutch, and capable point guard to lead the team.
Just ask the Heat how badly they would like to have a point guard with Billups’ skills for their playoff run. The Knicks aren’t going to win an NBA championship this year, but with Billups, they can do some serious damage in the playoffs.