He was an afterthought in the Carmelo Anthony trade last season. His name wasn't mentioned much, but it turns out he brought plenty of value to the team. The New York Knicks made the playoffs and Billups had some clutch moments throughout the short time he was there.
He also played some defense and was possibly the only Knick that showed at least some signs of defensive capability.
Billups now plays for the Los Angeles Clippers. He's an integral part of their offense, providing a veteran presence for a young team looking to contend in the Western Conference.
He's averaging 15.4 points this season along with 4.1 assists per game. His numbers are a bit down from last season in his 21-game stint with New York, but you don't think the Knicks can use his output now that they're in the bottom of the Eastern Conference?
Billups might have been the most valuable player in the Carmelo, deal and it's showing right now. He's scoring double digits for the Clippers and they're currently in first place in the Pacific Division. Meanwhile in the Big Apple, the Knicks look like the team we saw struggle earlier this decade.
Point is, Billups was a major reason why this team succeeded. He would provide a defensive jolt, averaging a steal per game and scored almost 17 points per game last season. He was an elder statesman for the Knicks as well. Imagine how badly the Knicks could use a nice pump-up speech during their losing trends.
The Knicks have lost eight of their last 10 games. They have young players like Iman Shumpert, Toney Douglas and Landry Fields trying to lead a team playing in the media capital of the world. Perhaps they are too young and can't handle the heat from the microscope of the media.
There is no doubt that Chauncey Billups would do a better job in that situation. He's played in the league for a long time and there isn't one thing he hasn't seen both on and off the court.
The Knicks' biggest mistake was not bringing back Chauncey. They should've done whatever they could have to keep the veteran on the squad. Their struggles are a reflection upon Billups' value.
Finally, just look at the Denver Nuggets. They're still in the top four in the Western Conference without Carmelo. They seem to be doing just fine.
It's because Melo doesn't bring any sort of value, other than scoring, to a team. He's a pure scorer. He doesn't do anything else, and when you have a guy like that leading a team like he is in New York, it becomes a problem.
The Knicks can't play a lick of defense and it seems like Melo is trying to single-handedly win every game.
Also, is Anthony being fazed by the New York media? He played in the mountains of Colorado where there was no microscopic pressure. He had never dealt with it. Now that his team is struggling in New York, he might be listening to the critics, and it's showing in his game and the way the Knicks are playing.
Teams can't win championships or make the playoffs by being one-dimensional. The Knicks are just that right now. So when they lost Billups, they lost a huge asset to the team, and they must be kicking themselves in the leg because of their mistake.
Meanwhile, Billups is on a more talented team in Los Angeles and is on a quest for another ring. Good for him.
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