Chauncey Billups came back to the Detroit Pistons for more than just making amends for having traded him five years ago.
The Pistons are confident that Billups, at age 37, still has two good NBA years left in him, maybe three, and that he can provide off-the-court and on-the-court leadership they’ve been lacking in recent seasons. But early in the season, the Pistons will need Billups to be like the Chauncey of old.
Right now, the Pistons are without Brandon Jennings and Rodney Stuckey, who are nursing injuries. Especially for that reason, Billups will probably see more action at the guard spot than had originally been intended. He has seen action in three games so far and is averaging 26.3 minutes, 8.0 points and 4.0 assists, and is shooting 30.4 percent from the floor, 40 percent on threes and 80.0 percent on free throws.
Billups needs to shake the rust off and shoot better. It’s not going to help having a 30 percent shooter playing guard. But he should give the Pistons steady direction when he’s at that spot.
A key aspect of Billups’ season will be his durability. The Pistons need him to play a full season and avoid injuries and illnesses as much as possible. That ‘s not easy at his age. But Billups can still be just as dangerous of a player as most guards on the Pistons roster. How many minutes he gives the team remains to be seen.
His impact on the team is likely to be huge early in the season. There’s the possibility, too, that it could be huge the entire season.