4 Things Chauncey Billups Can Teach NY Knicks Rookie Iman Shumpert about the NBA
It's unlikely at this point that Billups will be with the Knicks beyond the 2011-12 season, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a thing or two to teach young Iman Shumpert before he leaves the Big Apple for good.
Billups is an interesting case study in being patient with a young player's development given how his career unfolded, and both the Knicks and Shumpert can learn from his experiences.
For his part, Chauncey has already showed a willingness to teach young Iman at the Impact Basketball Competitive Training Series in Las Vegas.
Billups told SLAMOnline that he was looking forward to playing with Shumpert and that he is going to try to make him a star.
At 34 years old and after 14 years in the NBA, Billups is firmly entrenched in the mentor stage of his career, even if his contributions on the court are still significant.
How to Create Contact and Draw Fouls on the Way to the Basket
Despite never shooting above 44 percent from the field in his career, Chauncey Billups is annually among the league's leaders in true shooting percentage.
Much of this is due to the fact that Billups is an expert at drawing fouls, and converts at an absurdly high rate from the free throw line.
Billups has averaged 5.0 free throws attempted per game in his career and topped out at 7.0 per game during the 2009-10 season.
Billups is also an 89.4 percent shooter from the line in his career.
This is a useful skill for Iman Shumpert to learn because he, too, struggles with his field goal percentage.
The 40.6 percent he shot from the field as a junior at Georgia Tech was a career high.
If Shumpert learns how to use his body and his athleticism to draw fouls, he too can make an impact shooting the basketball despite a low field goal percentage.
Shumpert steadily raised his free throw percentage while at Georgia Tech from 65.6 as a freshman to 72.0 as a sophomore and finally to 80.6 as a junior.
Assuming he can keep improving from the line, then learning how to get there is one of the most important skills he can acquire.
Hitting from Three
Another factor in Billups' high true shooting percentage is his ability to hit the three-pointer.
Chauncey is a career 38.7 percent shooter from beyond the arc, which helps augment his paltry 41.7 career field goal percentage overall.
Billups is always a threat to hit from deep, often at the worst possible time for an opponent.
It was his propensity for taking and making shots and the most opportune times which earned him the nickname "Mr. Big Shot" when he was with the Detroit Pistons, and that's something very valuable he can pass on to Shumpert.
If Shumpert can raise his three-point percentage to Billups' levels, he'll be much more effective in Mike D'Antoni's offense.
When taken with his athleticism, that would give Shumpert two huge assets in his offensive game to go along with the superior defense he brings to the table.
Don't Be Discouraged by an Early Lack of Playing Time or Role
Early on in his career, Billups bounced around the league quite a bit.
Billups then signed in Minnesota where he backed up 1-guard Terrell Brandon.
It wasn't until Chauncey landed in Detroit nearly five years after he was drafted that he carved out a role for himself in the league and made a valuable impact.
Given head coach Mike D'Antoni's usual reluctance to play rookies—Landry Fields was an exception last year, not the rule—it would not surprise if Shumpert didn't see much playing time at the start of his career.
Billups has been there, so he can make sure Shumpert keeps working hard and fights his way into the rotation, forcing D'Antoni to put him on the court.
How To Play with Superstars
Chauncey Billups has been surrounded by All-Star talent for much of his career.
He's got Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony on his team now and he played with Carmelo in Denver.
He had Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace, Tayshaun Prince and Richard Hamilton by his side in Detroit, and he shared the court with Kevin Garnett in Minnesota.
Playing with superstars on your teams means subjugating your game and being willing and able to do the dirty work on the offensive and defensive end of the floor.
Dive after loose balls, fight for long rebounds, stand your ground on defense and play team basketball.
The most important lesson Shumpert can learn right now is not to try to do too much, because he really doesn't have to.
He could learn a lot about fitting in and playing to his strengths from the way last season's rookie Landry Fields played in the first half of the season.
Let Stoudemire and Anthony worry about shouldering the scoring load and fill in wherever you can around them.