By Dan Jenkins
(CBS DETROIT) – In 2008, Detroit Pistons general manager Joe Dumars pulled the trigger on a blockbuster deal bringing legendary guard Allen Iverson to the Motor City, but sent fan-favorite Chauncey Billups to Denver in return.
Dumars made it public the move was the worst he has made at the command of the Pistons, but made amends with Billups this summer, as he signed the 37-year-old guard to a two-year contract. Billups hit the court for the Pistons’ preseason game Thursday night in Cleveland against the Cavaliers, and his presence was instantly felt by teammates.
Fourth-year power forward Greg Monroe said that the team is much more organized now on the court with Billups at the helm.
.@M10OSE on Chauncey: “He’s proven it at the highest level. When he’s on the court, everything has a point. There’s no wasted movement.”
— Keith Langlois (@Keith_Langlois) October 18, 2013
The Pistons would go on to lose to the Cavs, 96-84, after a hapless finish, getting out-scored 26-17 in the fourth quarter. Billups started the game for the injured Brandon Jennings and finished with 10 points and four assists in 27 minutes.
The Pistons’ offense will likely see a boost this season when Billups returns to the court. In 2007-2008, Billups’ last season in Detroit, the team was ranked second in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio. The last two seasons, the Pistons finished second-to-last in that category.
Billups, who turned 37 in September, will not play nearly as much as he once did in a Pistons uniform, coming off of Achilles tendon surgery. He missed a total of 122 games over the last two seasons.
Billups’ biggest contribution may come of the court, in helping to groom a young Pistons’ backcourt including Brandon Jennings and 2013 first round pick, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. If anything, the Pistons should be more efficient on the offensive end with the addition of the 2004 Finals MVP point guard.
- Billups: ‘I’m Not Coming Here To Be The Star’ (detroit.cbslocal.com)
- ESPN: Pistons Will Finish Fifth In The Eastern Conference (detroit.cbslocal.com)