The Detroit Pistons atoned for one of the biggest mistakes they have made in recent memory. They brought Chauncey Billups back, and he will once again become their starting point guard.
Traded away in 2008 in a deal that brought Allen Iverson to Detroit. Never a popular move, the fans proved to be right that it was not a good trade for the team to make. Since the trade was finalized and Billups left Detroit the team is nearly 100 games under .500.
At 36 years old and coming off of multiple injury-ridden seasons that saw him play in just 42 of his past 148 games, Billups is far from an a sure bet to take this team to the next level.
“I feel like I’ve still got some good years of basketball left,” Billups said as he was formally reintroduced as a member of the Pistons. “I’ve said it, time and time again, that I always wanted to be remembered as a Piston.”
Many question whether or not Detroit bringing back Chauncey Billups was anything more than a formality, a sort of encore performance for a Piston legend.
Jamie Samuelsen, a sports writer for Freep.com liked the move “but there’s also little doubt that the Billups signing is more ceremonial than difference-making.” He then explained his argument. “No disrespect to Billups, but successful point guards in this league don’t usually come off stretches of 42 games played out of 148 total over the previous two seasons. They’re usually not 37, which Chauncey will be on opening night. And typically, the high-end point guards get snapped up very early in the free agent process.”
Billups is far from the only one happy that he has returned to Detroit, team president Joe Dumars sees the re-acquisition as a way to not only solidify the point guard position with a veteran starter, atone for his poor trade decision of 2008, but also as a way to mentor developing young point guard Brandon Knight.
Dumars understands Billups’ age, but believes that “although this is a great feel-good moment, to bring Chauncey back, he and I discussed the fact that this is not just about feel-good. This is about his ability to impact the game for us on the court.”
Chauncey Billups is not a man to sit back and watch a young team develop, he will do everything he possibly can to boost this team to the playoffs, and that will mean starting at point guard. Even if age is catching up with him, he is still a 39 percent three point shooter and has the highest Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of any Piston in history.
“I’m really not good with losing and mediocrity. I come here, and I’m not just coming to mentor and coach. I’m coming to play, and I’m coming to try to win. I’m looking forward to it,” Billups said when describing his goals for coming back to the Motor City.
Detroit has fallen considerably since Billups was last their starting point guard, however with a two year deal Chauncey feels he has a chance to start the journey back to the top for the Pistons. “I think respectability is the word for me. I don’t know that we can get, in two years, back to what it was when I left. But just make the playoffs, I think, is a goal that we’ve got to have from Day One.”
With free agent Josh Smith joining a roster that already was “a borderline playoff team in the Eastern Conference” according to Samuelsen.
If Billups can win the starting job and avoid injury, Detroit could very well return to the glory days before trading Chauncey during the two years he is under contract with the team.
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Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express