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Don’t overlook what Chauncey Billups can still contribute on court for the Pistons

Me at the Detroit Free Press:

For Detroit, Wallace seemed like insurance — the team was retooling and needed to add some depth to its patched-together frontcourt. Wallace, at his advanced age, surely couldn’t handle a major role and certainly couldn’t come close to the productivity of his best years in the league.

Except he did. The ‘Benaissance’ season, as it became known in the Pistons blogosphere, was one of franchise’s few bright spots over the last four years. In nearly 30 minutes per game in 2009-10, Wallace averaged 8.7 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.2 steals per game. His 54% shooting was the second-best mark of his career and, though he wasn’t the rim-protecting presence he once was, his post defense was as stellar as ever. Wallace was the best big man on the Pistons’ roster that season (not that there was much competition).

Can Chauncey Billups, also well past his prime, also coming off of a season full of injuries, have a similar revival?

Check out the full column and leave your thoughts on what Billups can offer aside from leadership in the comments.

33 Comments

  • Jul 12, 201311:23 am
    by RyanK

    Reply

    Defensively I wonder if he’ll be able to move his feet well enough to avoid being a liability.  He’s going to be slower and will see faster guards today than he did in his prime.  Another big factor is how many games he’ll be able to dress for…I assume his health will be a factor this season.

    I think we’ll get a guy who can protect the ball well while the team gets into it’s offensive set.  He’ll get the ball to the right guy at the right time.  He’ll see other openings and break plays when it will lead to a high percentage look.  He’ll also be a 35-40% 3 point shooter who makes the defense stay out of the paint to guard him.

    Billups has always used his strength and wide body well.  He’ll continue to enjoy a size and strength advantage on 9 out of 10 nights…unless they switch small forwards on him like they used to.   But if they do that, it’s a good thing because it means he’s still able to play at a level that is respected.

  • Jul 12, 201311:47 am
    by DoctorDave

    Reply

    If he can get plugged in for just 15 minutes a game, it will be a huge help.
    On a secondary note: I really hope JoeD can figure out a way to keep Siva on the roster. I know it’s just summer league, but the dude has a good Ast/TO ratio; that looks good no matter what league you play in.

  • Jul 12, 201311:52 am
    by Eddie

    Reply

    Really cool to see an all time great Piston able to retire for the franchise that he played his best for!  I’m sure he’ll only be a shell of his old self but, I’m also sure he’ll hit some big shots and play ultra-smart when he’s on the court.  Not to mention be a GREAT mentor for Knight and KCP.  Love the signing.  Can’t wait to here the P.A. announcer, Mason, say CHAUNCEY B-B-B-BILLUPSSSSSS when he drains one from distance! :)

  • Jul 12, 201311:56 am
    by mike

    Reply

    People in general are really sleeping on Chauncey saying he’s just here to be a mentor and can’t play anymore because he’s 36. You look around the league at his peers and see guys like Pierce, Garnett,  and Duncan still playing at all-star levels at the same age. I honestly don’t see why Chauncey can’t follow suit, if he’s now 100% healthy again. The only reason his production looked so bad the last year was because he only played 19 min. His PER36 was right on par with his career averages. 

    Career PER 36

    17 pts, 6 asts, 3 rebs, 2 TOs on 41% FG, 39% 3FG, and 89% FT

    2013 PER 36

    16 pts, 4 asts, 3 rebs, 2 TOs on 40% FG, 37% 3FG, and 94% FT

    Chauncey can still play, and I don’t know how people can proclaim the Nets to be so great because of the additions of Garnett and Pierce, 37 and 36 years old respectively, and then just dismiss Chauncey’s addition to the Pistons as nothing but a mentor. Had we not signed Smith, I doubt Chauncey comes back here. I think he came back more to play with this great frontcourt than to be a mentor to the guards. Though I do think he will do both. But I expect him to play and produce and likely will be the best guard on the team next year, barring any other moves.

    People say he was only able to play 20 games each of the last 2 season as if that’s a bad thing. When in reality that was a good thing, as he’s had 2 yrs to rest from all those consecutive years of deep playoff runs, and 2 yrs less miles on his body. Also remember he didn’t start logging big minutes in his career until he was 25. He then stopped logging big minutes at only 34, as the last 2 yrs were basically rehab. So he’s really only played about a 9-10 yr career of actual full seasons of basketball. With that in mind, I think he’s got another 2 yrs left at a high level in him still, and we are lucky to have him here doing it for us. I don’t expect an all-star season, of course, but I don’t see why he couldn’t start and give us a solid 15 and 5 on high efficiency 3pt shooting and be our lead QB/offensive coordinator.

    • Jul 12, 201312:02 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Because Chauncey barely played last year while Pierce and KG were putting up near all-star seasons.

      • Jul 12, 20131:59 pm
        by mike

        Reply

        Its no more logical to assume KG and Pierce will continue that same production in BK at their age, than it is to assume Chauncey won’t return to form. If anything KG and Pierce are due for a big decline at any moment because of all the minutes they logged the last few years at their age. Chauncey however should be rested, rejuvenated, and ready to go. 

        KG experienced a season ending injury at about the same age as Chauncey did and he came back to form eventually. Look at what McDyess did too. I wouldn’t count mr big shot out just yet. 

        • Jul 12, 20133:35 pm
          by Max

          Reply

          KG and Pierce are all time greats who are flat out better players than Billups.   Part of why people take them more seriously is because 80 percent of them is still much better than 100 percent of most players.   

        • Jul 12, 20138:44 pm
          by PG

          Reply

          Mike has a point.

          • Jul 12, 201311:51 pm
            by Max

            You’re right.  Mike does have a point.  I just didn’t like the comparison to KG and The Truth.  

            If I had my druthers, a healthy Billups automatically starts.       

        • Jul 13, 201312:42 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          Garnett:
          career per game: 19 pts, 11 rebs, 4 asts, 3 stl+blk, 50/28/79
          last season per game: 15 pts, 8 rebs, 2 asts, 2 stl+blk, 50/13/79
          last season per 36: 18 pts, 9 rebs, 3 asts, 3 stl+blk, 50/13/79

          Pierce:
          career per game: 22 pts, 6 rebs, 4 asts, 2 stl+blk, 45/37/81
          last season per game: 19 pts, 6 rebs, 4 asts, 2 stl+blk, 44/38/79
          last season per 36: 20 pts, 7 rebs, 5 asts, 2 stl+blk, 44/38/79

          Billups:
          career per game: 15 pts, 3 rebs, 6 asts, 1 stl+blk, 42/39/89
          last season per game: 8 pts, 2 rebs, 2 asts, 1 stl+blk, 40/37/94
          last season per 36: 16 pts, 3 rebs, 4 asts, 1 stl+blk, 40/37/94

          Does that make it clear enough why more is expected of Pierce and Garnett than Billups? They’ve been consistently better throughout their careers, and they have not so far fallen as far off their career averages as Billups has.

          Age isn’t everything. McGrady is also younger that KG and Pierce. 

    • Jul 12, 201312:14 pm
      by Huddy

      Reply

      IF he is healthy is a huge if.  Pierce and Garnett are considered game changers because their production and health really hasn’t slipped.  He didn’t log big minutes to start his carrer…because he was injured.  Chauncey started his career with injury issues and is coming off another 3 years of injury battles.  You can call those 3 years rest if you want to, but he was injured..not holding off so that he could break out and play 30 minutes a game this year (I’m pretty sure he tried his hardest to be able to contribute to the Clippers and get another title).
       
      Players don’t have a set number of years their bodies will work so saying he saved time or has less miles on his body is really false.  You can’t quantify health like that.  A player can have one injury and never be the same.  Andrew Bynum had one injury, he is young, and he has taken a full season off and there is little faith he can produce at the same level again.
       
      I’d say realistically he can play 10-15 minutes a game, his shot shouldn’t suffer, he will probably lose a step on D, and his court vision will obviously remain.  that is a solid contribution and far more than just being a mentor, but remaining realistic.

      • Jul 12, 20131:54 pm
        by mike

        Reply

        Its not a huge if. If he weren’t healthy we wouldn’t have signed him, and there wouldn’t have been interest from other teams. He obviously checked out medically. Not to mention we have Arnie here who has proven he knows how to keep older players healthy.

        I see more like 20-25 mpg from Billups, only because of the other guards that need minutes, but I think he could play 30-35 if necessary. He has repeatedly said over the years that he isn’t interested in just being a mentor. He always said if he can still play, then he expects to play, and if not he would just retire. Don’t kid yourself, if we hadn’t signed Smith, Chauncey was not coming back here just to be on a lottery team and mentor Knight. He came back here because we have the best frontcourt in the league, and that’s a dream for any guard who likes to shoot 3′s. Especially a veteran guard who can rely on dumping the ball inside whenever he gets in trouble. I think Sheed joining the staff played a factor too, and the fact that we offered the most money, BUT I don’t think money would’ve mattered if we were going to just be a lottery team. He wouldn’t have chosen the Raptors over a contender just for a couple extra mil. We have a legit team now and he came here to play with them.

        • Jul 12, 20132:22 pm
          by Huddy

          Reply

          “If he weren’t healthy we wouldn’t have signed him”-not the same argument as saying he can play 35 minutes a night.  I think the team definitely would have signed him even if they only saw him playing 20 min max, because they don’t need him to start.  His experience is worth it to the organization even as a 3rd guard.
           
          It is an if because him saying he is healthy and checking out before playing an extended number of games doesn’t mean hes good for 82 this year.  Do you seriously find no weight at all behind the argument that Billups has spent about 5-6 years of his career(at the beginning and end) injured?  I’m sure he has faith in himself and I’m sure he is honest when he says he feels good about being able to contribute now, but that doesn’t mean there are no concerns about how much he can really contribute.  Your assessment is definitely a best case scenario that I hope is the case.

    • Jul 13, 20133:24 am
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      “People say he was only able to play 20 games each of the last 2 season as if that’s a bad thing. When in reality that was a good thing, as he’s had 2 yrs to rest from all those consecutive years of deep playoff runs, and 2 yrs less miles on his body.”

      Oh, boy, I can’t wait see Kareem this season. With all the rest he’s had, he should at least be an All-Star — maybe even an MVP!

      • Jul 13, 20131:23 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        And all those missed games really paid off for Bynum and Oden in FA.

  • Jul 12, 201312:20 pm
    by ASwede

    Reply

    I think he will bring more fans to the Palace, which should help the whole team play better. At least I am more excited about this year than I’ve been in a long time. 

  • Jul 12, 201312:32 pm
    by Kobina

    Reply

    I personally think fans were more upset about the team seeming directionless rather than the losing (which did indeed suck).  Now that JD is putting moves together and our young guys are beginning to show promise (what AD did in Orlando was damn near unfair to the competition), I sense excitement brewing in the fan base.  Billups adds to this because I believe it helps fans see a realistic path for Knight to become better than good.

    Like Smith or not, his talent is undeniable and we are clearly closer to contending with him, than without.  This sense that we are moving closer to the ultimate goal should bring fans back.  For Smooth, who has always played in front of a luke-warm ATL fan base, a little motor city madness should really turn him on.  Next year will be a fun brand of Pistons basketball. 

  • Jul 12, 201312:49 pm
    by ryan

    Reply

    I think Chauncey Billups will have a lot of his best games in practice. Showing all the guards how to use ‘old man’ tricks, manage an offense and attack when the opportunity is there. I think him coming at Brandon Knight day in and day out and then being able to talk with him during games is going to be big.

    In the games I think one of the big things is that he can play either guard spot and you feel good about him taking a three to win the game or simply as another threat that spreads the floor. I think having Brandon Knight, Billups, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Singler, Khris Middleton, Luigi Datome (sp), if we keep them all, will really be an asset for us. Teams have to game plan for multiple shooters and we can mix and match. A guy like Singler can even play the four for a couple of possessions if you want a lot of shooting on the floor. So potentially you could have four solid shooters out there surrounding one big. Billups is the guy who has a history of getting it done though and that still matters.

    I also think he can run the second unit so that they’re a productive group even when all the starters sit. That’s not something Will Bynum can do consistently.

    Last thought echoing DoctorDave, I hope we find a way to keep Peyton Siva.

  • Jul 12, 201312:51 pm
    by Vic

    Reply

    Can’t wait for the Billaissance.

    As long as he’s not injured he’ll give positive production on the court. Working with Kander he’ll be better than the last few years.

    If anybody has to go thru NBDL it should be Tony Mitchell – tell him to make sure he averages a triple double with blocks added to steals.

    Siva is a steal too he needs to be at practice getting instruction from Chauncey and Cheeks. 

    I knew Mitchell was a steal but I really underestimated Siva, this may go down as one of the best all around drafts ever 

    • Jul 12, 20131:07 pm
      by jacob

      Reply

      I really think KCP can be a great 2 way player, I know it’s only summer league but he looked so much better than Burke.

    • Jul 12, 20131:29 pm
      by I HATE FRANK

      Reply

      First Pope off… I was right and wrong about Pope from what I’ve seen soo far…

      Right: he is limited offensively, and other than Straight Line …he has no clue on how to attack the basket ….

      Wrong: Much better defensively than I thought and his recovery speed is excellent…

      I really like what i saw defensively throughout summer league defensively, and in the last 3 games offensively he should what he could become…still streaky, but consistence will come as finds other ways to score…

      Mitchell is the Perfect replacement for Maxiell, Rebounds, Shot-blocks, can run the floor, and bring energy…I’d honestly rather Mitchell than Jonas for defensive potential…Im not totally against sending him to the d-league…but he’s be better off playing practice everyday with Sheed and against Drummond, Greg, and Josh Smith…

      Siva reminds me of a young Tony Parker, he is all speed, agility, crafty and fearless he exceeded my expectation because of the quick connection that he made with Drummond. im not gonna overhype it, Well Yes i am…It was Like Payton and Shawn Kemp… they had such a great vibe… All eye contact and head gestures, and they barely had any real practice together

      • Jul 12, 20134:04 pm
        by oats

        Reply

        I still think that Pope could improve his ball handling and become a good slashing guard. He’s clearly got the quickness needed for that kind of role, but he has struggled to change direction quickly with the ball in hand. So yes, offensively he is limited to straight line moves, but athletically he should be capable of a lot more if his ball handling ever allows him to fully utilize it. Until he does he will be a pretty limited player on offense. That said, with his quickness helping him get good looks he could be a pretty good scorer as pretty much just a jump shooter.

        • Jul 12, 20136:25 pm
          by Vic

          Reply

          if anybody follows the Pope on twitter, please tell him to dribble 2 tennis balls 1 hour a day until October.

  • Jul 12, 20131:58 pm
    by RyanK

    Reply

    I think Jonas will struggle to get floor time with Mitchell, Smith, and Monroe all playing the big forward spot.  Mitchell has a whole lot of potential, but will need someone kicking him in the ass every single day.  Maybe CBill can do that.

    We need to move 2 players off this roster so we can get Siva under contract for the season.  He looks like a guy who can backup a good starting point guard right now…maybe in the future he can be a starter in the league.  It looks to me like he’s a better point guard than Knight at this point…Knight’s ceiling could be higher.

    • Jul 12, 20132:17 pm
      by Anthony

      Reply

      We need to kick out 2 players.. Yet we won’t amnesty Villanueva?! Wtf? I don’t kind stuckey, but why did we sign Bynum? Another move I didn’t like. If I had to pick 2, I’d say amnesty CV and not sign Bynum (unless fits already been official. Then we’re stuck I guess lol)

      • Jul 12, 20132:25 pm
        by Huddy

        Reply

        Siva is no where near as ready to contribute as Bynum is.  Bynum is coming off a great season as our back up guard and has chemistry with Drummond that is proven in the NBA…not summer league against scrubs.  If they can convince siva to stay overseas or whatever thats fine, but he is definitely low on the list to stay.

  • Jul 12, 20132:25 pm
    by Jamarco McNutt

    Reply

    I much rather watch Chauncey play then Stuckey.  As good as it is to see Chauncey back it is just as disturbing that Mo Cheeks has a heart to heart with Rodney Stuckey in Orlando.  Rodney shouldnt be playing at all on this team let alone trying to lead anyone.  

  • Jul 12, 20133:21 pm
    by Otis

    Reply

    I absolutely think he can contribute as long as he’s healthy. If it were up to me, he’d be my assumptive starter unless another player beats him out for the job. He’d probably cross-match on defense most nights. I think the Bennaisance comparison is apt. Aside from being probably the best PG option on the roster (whom Bynum should complement nicely as a change-of-pace backup) he gives the team some intriguing options on the perimeter and potentially helps everyone slide into more natural positions.
     
    This is kind of a ridiculous depth chart:
    Billups/Bynum/Siva
    Knight/Pope/Stuckey
    Smith/Singler/Middleton/Datome
    Monroe/Jerebko/Villanueva/Mitchell
    Drummond/Kravtsov
     
    If we could make a fair trade or two to consolidate some of this talent a little (which is a VERY tall order) this team could be legitimately good. As a skeptic of the Drummond-Monroe combo (and even bigger skeptic of Drummond-Monroe-Smith being able to play together), Smith gives you the flexibility to move a VERY valuable commodity in Monroe without needing to take back a quality PF, so you can take the best package available. Assuming no trades, (guessing Siva gets cut, and I’d give almost all of my 4-5 minutes to a Smith/Monroe/Drummond rotation, with Smith playing SF situationally) my rotation probably looks like this:
     
    Billups/Bynum/Stuckey
    Knight/Pope/Stuckey
    Datome/Singler/Middleton
    Smith/Jerebko/Mitchell/Villanueva
    Monroe/Drummond/Kravtsov
     
    In case you can’t tell, I’m kind of excited for the first time in ages.

    • Jul 12, 20135:02 pm
      by Ryan Kelly

      Reply

      I like that lineup with a great competition for the backup sf spot.  

      • Jul 12, 20135:17 pm
        by Ryan Kelly

        Reply

        I mean that first one.  Chauncey, knight, and the three monsters.  

        • Jul 13, 201312:01 am
          by Max

          Reply

          I vote for the first lineup but Stuckey is my first guard off the bench at either position.  

          If I was Cheeks this season I would start Drummond, Monroe and Smith and tell Drummond and Monroe they are going to sit the rest of the 1st quarter as soon as they pick up their first foul.   

  • Jul 12, 201310:53 pm
    by Jack56

    Reply

    Has anyone heard about the zaid abbas rumors?

    • Jul 13, 20131:23 am
      by jacob

      Reply

      Where? Really isn’t room for one more plus he is 29.

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