What is the No. 1 thing Chauncey Billups can do to step up and help the Pistons make the playoffs?
Rodney Stuckey is a poor fit when the Pistons have Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond on the court and only an OK fit when Kyle Singler rather than Luigi Datome plays small forward with a two-big lineup. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is behind where many hoped he’d be. Kyle Singler is straining his versatility to fit into the backcourt.
Billups, who missed 106 games the last two seasons, very well could be the Pistons’ best shooting guard option – as long as he can play.
Obviously, injuries aren’t always avoidable, especially for 37-year-olds. But anything Billups can do to keep his body in prime shape could go a long way.
Be old, just not super old
General consensus is that Billups is back in Detroit more for symbolic/leadership/unquantifiable intangibles that hacky sportswriters love type of reasons than for anything he might contribute on the court. Unfortunately, the Pistons can’t shoot, and Billups can. So, if he stays healthy enough to be a competent perimeter threat in limited minutes, his signing will be worth it.
Even if Billups starts – which sounds increasingly – he won’t play as much as a typical starter, which is fine. Billups can contribute more by molding Brandon Jennings into a better point guard. Although Jennings is already seasoned, he still room to grow for him, and Billups can help by sharing his wisdom.
Retake his never-filled throne as a leader
Among the laundry list of problems faced by this team in recent seasons, a lack leadership ranks near the top. There have been veteran players throughout that time, but none have been the locker-room leaders Detroit needed. Though his outside shooting will probably hold up, Billups might not have much left physically. But leadership doesn’t fade with age.
- Brady Fredericksen