The Clippers have the best point guard, the best floor general in the game in Chris Paul. For the past couple seasons they had the up-and-coming Eric Bledsoe behind him.
Which meant Chauncey Billups was at the two spot.
He was the good teammate and did it, but it was not his preference. Throw in the Achilles injury that limited him to 22 games last season and things just didn’t feel like they got in a groove for Billups.
Now he is back in Detroit as a Piston, a place he feels comfortable, and he told Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports he’s excited to play the point again.
“I’m 36 and I’m going to be 37 when the season starts,” Billups said. “I’ve accomplished everything I tried to accomplish in basketball. So I don’t have anything to prove. But to my own personal self, I want to end my career playing my position and just doing what I do….
“I definitely wasn’t disappointed,” Billups said. “I didn’t want to be a two-guard anyway. I did it there because it’s a way for me to get on the floor. You are playing behind the best point guard in the league in Chris. I never saw myself as a shooting guard. I never wanted to play it.”
Just acquired Brandon Jennings will be the starting point for the Pistons, and they have Will Bynum back to also take up some minutes as a scorer off the bench. Billups will fit in that mix and get a healthy share of minutes at the point.
Where he may most be needed is in the locker room — the Pistons added the personalities of Josh Smith and Jennings to the mix. Two guys with a lot of confidence (maybe too much at times) who want to take a lot of shots and not always good ones. How the shot distribution and flow of the offense works out could lead to some friction, having a veteran like Billups in the locker room can help diffuse some of that.
Then after this season he can step up into the front office.
Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.
The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.
The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.
Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.
Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.
Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.
“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”
The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.
Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.
LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.
Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?
Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.
LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.
To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.
It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.
With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.
There were a couple of good ones, however.
Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.
One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.