While reading Bill Simmons' Grantland piece about the new-school Clippers, I stumbled across this passage about the importance of Chauncey to the young guns. Even thou he tore his Achilles and was out almost all of this lockout-shortened season, Chauncey was still winning them games from the bench. That's when it hit me-
It's time for Chauncey to come home.
Before his injury, even though a 35-year-old Chauncey couldn't defend Yi Jianlian's chair, and even if Chauncey still believed in that Mr. Big Shot nickname a little too much — he brought a certain credibility to the proceedings. There's a reason Chauncey was and is the league's single most respected veteran. During the lockout, whenever insiders were ripping Derek Fisher (and it happened often), they always pointed to Chauncey as the one who should have been running things. I asked one of those people what made Chauncey special — that person said, "I don't know, some people just HAVE it." You know how we know this is true? Before Chauncey got hurt, even Chris Paul (a dominant personality and alpha dog in every sense) deferred to Chauncey to maddening degrees.
Sure, Chauncey, I'll play off the ball for a few plays, I'm only the best pure point guard in 20 years.
What???? After watching everyone fall over themselves to follow Chauncey's lead, I started wondering if Billups could have cruised past Willard Romney for the 2012 Republican nomination. Here's how much Chauncey means to the Clippers: After his season-ending Achilles tear, the team kept dressing Chauncey's locker (situated right next to Paul's) for every home and road game. You know, like he's still there. Jerseys, shoes, socks, everything. Like they didn't want to admit he's gone. Not so coincidentally, Billups returned to the Clippers bench two days after their embarrassing Phoenix loss, started traveling with the team and doing Chauncey things, and within a few weeks, the Clippers looked like a contender again.
Andre Miller is a free agent this year, and can hopefully land a starting job. Billups can do everything Miller did- throw lobs to Javale and Manimal, provide scoring off the bench, move the ball, and provide leadership to players like Lawson. However, while a big reason why the Lakers beat the Nuggets, was the fact that the offensive would stall and lead to Miller shooting contested jumper after contested jumper. While Chauncey also shoots a large volume of poor shots, they tend to fall in, particularly at the Pepsi Center.
More importantly, when healthy Chauncey is better. Check out the the stats below.
Per 36-minute stats in 2010-11 ( 2010-11 because Chauncey was hurt almost all of last year). All stats from Basketball-Refrence.
Chauncey 18.8 points on 43% FG, 40% 3pt (averaged 5 attempts per 36), 92% ft, 62% TS and 6 assists/2.8 TO's
Andre 14 points on 46% FG, 11% 3pt (only averaged .5 attempts per 36), 85% ft, 53% TS and 7.7assists/2.7TO's
The biggest differences in the stats are the number of 3 pointers. Chauncey shoot 10 times as many 3's and makes them efficiently, while Andre would almost never venture outside the stripe and is a career 20% 3pt shooter. Also Chauncey tends to score more, while Andre dishes more assists but neither number is that different. The biggest concern I have is injuries as he is 35 years old.
The biggest impact that Chauncey would bring to the Nuggets is his leadership as Bill Simmons noted above. Having the 2004 Finals MVP mentoring Lawson would be fantastic. Chauncey could also fill the Nuggets 'closer' non-issue. While George Karl, I, and the rest of Denver Stiffs believe this isn't a big deal, the so-called sports experts have mentioned it a thousand times. Having the pressure of the closer topic lifted off their backs, the Nuggets could focus on winning.
Most importantly, it's time to bring Colorado's greatest basketball player back to his hometown. Overall, I would love to see him back, hitting 3's, throwing lobs, providing the veteran presence the Nuggets and doing this to the Lakers.