Why Chauncey Billups, Not Carmelo Anthony, Is the New King of New York
They lamented that not only did the Knicks give away Wilson Chandler, but also lost Danilo Gallinari, a fantastic, young 22 year-old forward that could be a cornerstone of the franchise for years to come; Raymond Felton, another bright young prospect that looked to develop into a perennial All-Star point guard; Timofey Mozgov, a promising rookie from Russia and 7'1'' big man whose size the Knicks desperately need; and their first round pick in 2014.
While Chandler didn't have much of a future with the franchise, being a restricted free agent after the season and a contract the Knicks were looking to give up to get Melo, Mozgov and particularly Gallinari and Felton were young players that the Knicks wanted to keep and whom already had strong growing fanbases in the city of New York.
The one player that has been largely overlooked in the trade, however, is former NBA Finals MVP Chauncey Billups.
The fact that Denver gave up Billups along with Melo was a huge coup for the Knicks, and one which cannot be underestimated.
Knicks fans lamenting the loss of Gallo and Mozgov would be well served to remember that they picked up Melo, whose value and potential as a player far outweighs Gallo and Mozgov's combined.
Who is the better point guard for the Knicks?
That leaves Felton, who many Knicks fans felt should not have been included in the deal.
While the 26 year-old was having the best season of his six-season career, he is not and may never be the player that Billups is.
While it's true that Billups is 34 years-old and in the twilight of his career, he has more than enough gas in the tank to be a major contributor to the Knicks until the end of his contract, which expires after the 2011-12 season.
That's perfect timing, given that both elite point guards Chris Paul and Deron Williams will be free agents the summer of 2012 and both have already expressed interest in joining the Knicks.
At this point in time, Billups is a far superior point guard than Felton and brings more X-factors to the team than his stats show.
Billups is a big-time player that makes big-time shots who is also a generous veteran champion that doesn't mind sharing his leadership skills and knowledge to younger players.
That could not be more evident than the Knicks big-time win at the Miami Heat on Sunday.
With just over a minute left in the game and the Knicks down by two points, having already gone on a 6-2 run to trim the Heat lead, Billups threw up a long three-pointer over Dwyane Wade that swished through the net to give New York a one-point lead over Miami, a lead that the Knicks never surrendered.
Would the Knicks have defeated the Heat in Sunday's game without Chauncey Billups?
The fact that the shot was taken so far away from the basket, that it was made over Heat superstar Dwyane Wade and that it gave the Knicks the lead with just around a minute to go after trailing much of the end of the fourth quarter, was a back-breaker to a Heat team, at home, that they never recovered from.
To be blunt, this shot could have never been made in a million years with Felton in the lineup and a game that the Knicks would have lost prior to the trade.
Without a doubt, the New York Knicks won the game Sunday night against the Miami Heat because of the new members of the team traded from the Denver Nuggets.
But while Melo was his brilliant offensive self in the game, he was not the game-decider.
That honor went to the new King of New York, Chauncey Billups.
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