Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Chauncey Billips: Underrated, But No Longer Underappreciated

"There's a presence to his presentation. He's a proud man but a humble man, a communicative man but a quiet man. Chauncey has the intagible part of the point guard position down much more than the fans and the amateur observers would think. The efficiency, the leadership in the locker room, he has those things on an A-plus level, and how valuable is that?"

--George Karl, NBA Denver Nuggets head coach, discussing Chauncey Billips. Billips was traded from the Detroit Pistons to Denver for Allen Iverson in early November of 2008.

Since the trade, the Nuggets have won 16 games and lost only four as of Monday, December 15. Despite being less heralded that Iverson, Billips won a championship while on the Detroit team and played in two finals and in six straight NBA conference finals.

Billips was drafted third overall by the Boston Celtics in 1997. He bounced around with four NBA teams, including Denver, before succeeding in Detroit.

"A special guy, and you know he went through a lot before he got his chance. A lot of people didn't believe in him, and he's always played with that chip on his shoulder. "

--Rick Carlisle, who briefly coached Billips in Detroit.

Excerpts from the New York Times, 12/17/2008.

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