By Ashley Dunkak
AUBURN HILLS (CBS DETROIT) – Chauncey Billups did not return to Detroit to stir the pot … or did he?
No and yes. As far as playing point guard, Billups just wants to contribute. As far as the status quo of the Pistons, he is more exacting.
“The playoffs is absolutely our goal,” Billups said. “It’s been real rough here for the last few years. I think that it’s a feasible goal, and it all starts tomorrow at the start of training camp. You’ve got to change a lot of the culture a little bit, to be honest with you.”
Billups’ most pressing concern is getting the Pistons back in line with Detroit’s tradition, which includes 12 playoff appearances in a span of 14 seasons before the recent four-year skid in which the Pistons failed to win more than 30 games each year.
As part of the 2004 NBA championship team, Billups already has a place in team history, but he is not looking to repeat it to a T. He is flexible with where he plays, not demanding to be the point guard, not refusing to play other roles.
“Man, look, I’ve had my 15 minutes of fame,” Billups said. “I’m not coming here to be the star of the team. I do want to win, though. I’m going to play both spots, I’m sure. I just want to help. I want to be able to be involved and to have some responsibility out there, and that’s all that really matters to me. I don’t really care where it’s at.”
Billups can obviously still play, but his natural role as an official assistant coach makes him even more attractive.
“A guy like Chauncey is going to really help us,” head coach Maurice Cheeks said. “When you have a guy like Brandon Jennings, who’s still learning this game, and he has a guy on his side like Chauncey Billups, it can only help us. Because let’s face it – players get tired of hearing from coaches, so when they get tired of hearing from me, I have a guy whose credentials speak for themselves and can still play the game, and he’ll be more apt to listen to him at that time than listening to me chew his ear out sometime.”
Cheeks has yet to make any decisions regarding the starting lineup and assorted roles, and accordingly he gave a predictably vauge description of how much and in what capacity Billups will play.
“I know what Chauncey can do, so I’m not naïve to what he has done for a lot of years, but having said that, we have different guys – we have Brandon Jennings, we have Will Bynum, we have different guys able to play the position as well, so I think that’s what training camp’s for,” Cheeks said. “Play it out, it will make itself known, and Chauncey will be part of that.”