Minutes before the Nuggets and Timberwolves tipped off this evening, one of Minnesota’s announcers called Chauncey Billups “one of the best (point guards) that’s ever played the game.”
I’ll have to qualify that by noting this is the same announce crew that was getting all over Jonny Flynn the other night for allegedly not passing the ball enough — even though Flynn leads the team with 4.4 assists per game while nobody else has more than 3.2 a night. So maybe we should take their PG evaluation skills with a grain of salt. But it’s a valid discussion piece:
Where does Chauncey Billups rank among the game’s all-time great point guards?
Just like an NFL quarterback, you have to put Chauncey at least in the conversation because he’s won so many games. He’s got an NBA championship (and Finals MVP) to go with like seven conference finals appearances. His career numbers aren’t great (15.4 ppg, 5.6 apg), but consider that Chauncey was basically a journeyman for the first five years of his career; since coming into his own in Detroit and now in Denver, he’s consistently averaged about 17 points and 6-7 dimes every season. You know about his ability to knock down clutch shots, and even at his worst in the NBA he’s never been a high-turnover guy (2.0 tpg, career).
Quick answer for me: Chauncey is below the upper-upper echelon of Magic, Stockton, Isiah, Cousy and Oscar. On the next level you’ve got Jason Kidd, Gary Payton, Steve Nash, Tim Hardaway, Kevin Johnson, Tiny Archibald … this is where Chauncey fits if you ask me. But we’ll have to see how the careers of some younger dudes like Tony Parker, Chris Paul and Deron Williams pan out before we can get a true gauge of Chauncey’s place. I’d say Chauncey is either just outside the Top-10 or at best in the 9th-10th range.