Missing Mr. Big Shot

By Vince Cunningham

The Knicks could be in for a rude awakening this season after waiving veteran point guard, Chauncey Billups. Following countless years of hanging out in the NBA’s basement, New York had finally began to assemble a contender in the East.

The Knickerbocker Revolution started in 2010, landing All-Star free agent, Amar’e Stoudemire. Signing “Stat” got the ball rolling, but it wasn’t until last February’s Carmelo Anthony trade that the Big Apple finally had a playoff caliber team again.

Now, we all remember the chaos of that long, drawn out trade procedure. Rumors and speculations would not stop,  and nobody knew where ‘Melo would end up. But after months of proposals and negotiations, the dust finally settled and the Knicks had landed a Batman to their Robin. And while Anthony was obviously the big get in that deal, a trade which sent 8 players, 2 draft picks and $3 million cash in opposite directions, what surprised me the most was that somehow Chauncey Billups got lost in the shuffle. Everyone was talking about ‘Melo, but Billups was only mentioned as an afterthought, as if he was on par with Renaldo Balkman or one of the other mediocre, throw in players involved in the trade. This is a Finals MVP we’re talking about here. Sure, he’s not necessarily in his prime anymore, but you would never tell that based on the numbers he was putting up while donning the blue and orange.

A defensive minded point guard who averaged 18 points and 6 assists a game. A leader who shoots 90 percent from the stripe and has a knack for the game winning three. Chauncey is about as reliable a player as there is in the league, he possesses all the intangibles and has no glaring weakness in his game. And just as casually as they acquired him, the Knicks let Billups go in the very same way. A move I believe they will sincerely regret.

After watching last year’s new look Knicks try to find their rhythm and gel as a unit, it was obvious that they had some unity issues to start. For as talented as Carmelo is, he’s not an easy teammate to play with. Regularly stopping the flow of the game, trying to create his own shot, Anthony often eliminates any semblance of ball movement. Stoudemire has a very similar problem, which makes it difficult for the tandem to flourish in their natural style. But you could always count on Billups to bridge the gap and get the most out of the other four players on the court. He made it work and filled in wherever the Knicks were lacking. As far as I’m concerned, Chauncey was the MVP of that team last year and letting him go was a huge mistake.

Follow Vince Cunningham on Twitter @VinceC23

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