It took a season-ending injury for Clipper Nation to understand how important Chauncey Billups was to a consistently functioning lineup. While Billups’ shooting percentages dipped markedly this year (and he didn’t adjust the volume of shots to correspond with his diminished accuracy), we have come to learn that he should not be judged by the traditional metrics thrust upon shooting guards.
Chauncey Billups, even at the withered age of 35, was the best perimeter defender on the roster and he never shied away from a challenging matchup. Moreover, when Billups was in the game, he made the job of the “other” point guard in the game remarkably easier.
Chris Paul could afford to keep his foot off the gas during the early part of the game because he absolutely trusted Chauncey to run the offense effectively.
Mo Williams could concentrate on finding an uncontested shot in an open area of the floor (rather than look to pass to a less offensively skilled bench player) because he knew if he left the ball in Billups’ hands, the team would ultimately find itself with the best opportunity to hit nylon. It’s Williams whose numbers have suffered the most since Billups’ achilles injury and we shouldn’t expect to see Instant Mo in the same form we saw at the beginning of the season as he now has to spend more time fulfilling the role of conventional point guard. Chauncey has been and will continue to be sorely missed.
Overall Grade: B+