With Billups Now Lost for Season, Clippers Lose Leadership in Backcourt
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The Los Angeles Clippers lost guard Chauncey Billups to a left Achilles injury last night in the fourth quarter, in their overtime victory on the road against the Orlando Magic. The Clippers feared for the worst after watching Billups leave the game without putting any weight on his left foot. After undergoing an MRI in Cleveland, the Clippers learned that Billups is going to miss the remainder of the season.
Losing Billups for the remainder of the season is a mammoth loss for a team that was looking forward to becoming contenders in the seemingly quite open Western Conference this year.
Billups, who was in his 15th NBA season, has seen it all in his NBA career. At the age of 35, he is a true veteran of the NBA. He experienced the early struggles in his career (being traded multiple times despite being a lottery pick in 1997), and then found himself in Detroit, where he became an NBA champion by displaying the ability to work harder than his opponents.
Billups got the opportunity to play for his hometown Denver Nuggets for two-and-a-half seasons before being included in the Carmelo Anthony trade to the New York Knicks. After being released by the Knicks with the amnesty provision, Billups was not happy, but found himself on a talented and rising Los Angeles Clippers team that had just added a solid piece in All-Star point guard Chris Paul.
Paul, like Billups, possesses great leadership skills, and his presence made it easier for Chauncey to become a contributor this season in a co-leader type of role. However, Billups was a key acquisition for the Clippers as he brought stability to the team, playing alongside Chris Paul in the backcourt, and Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan in the frontcourt.
Now, as Billups looks to recover from his Achilles injury, one hopes that he is able to play at the NBA level once again, and retire on his own terms.
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