What Makes Chauncey Billups So Good?

KarlCorrespondent IMay 14, 2009

DENVER - MAY 13:  Chauncey Billups #7 of the Denver Nuggets reacts being called for a foul against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Pepsi Center on May 13, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

How did Chauncey Billups transform a team of no-D, me-first coasters into the mean, nasty, and focused contender that the Denver Nuggets have become?  What makes Billups so good?

I'm a stat head, but I think you can pretty much throw the stats out the window for this one.  I'll offer an analogy instead.

But first, I have to preface it for the PC police by saying, and let me make this absolutely clear, I MAKE NO ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT BILLUPS' OFF-COURT ACTIVITIES. 

In fact, I assume he's a stand-up guy, a citizen, a good father, etc.  And also, let me say that I believe I have done far more illegal things in my life than Billups ever did (I'm not going into it). 

That said, here's my analogy: I believe that IF Chauncey Billups ever went to prison, he'd be pretty much running the prison yard in three months' time, calling the shots, setting the agenda. 

And again, I offer that analogy as praise, not as a slur.  If I ever went to prison (about as likely as Billups going), I'd hide in my cell and put a sign up: "Please Don't Bother Me."  But Billups, I think, would take charge. 

How?  By being tough and smart, smart and tough.  One without the other doesn't get it done.  Same deal in the NBA.  George Karl even said something in an interview last night about the Nuggets being "smart tough" or something like that.  It starts with Billups.

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Anyway, watching Billups and the Nuggets in the postseason, the analogy occurred to me, and I offer it here.