Tuesday, May 6, 2014

2014 Season Review: Chauncey Billups

When the Pistons signed Chauncey Billups to a two-year contract last offseason, they made a gamble that he could stay healthy enough to provide the team with much needed perimeter shooting.  That gamble failed, but I don't think that it was a bad bet.  Having Billups back in the organization after his unfortunate trade to Denver in November of 2008 was cathartic in a way for the Pistons fan base.  Billups was the face of the franchise for what seemed like way more than six seasons.  As the Finals MVP of the Pistons 2004 title team, he'll be a Piston as long as he walks this planet.  As much as I personally enjoyed watching Chauncey in his first stint in Detroit, this time around he was in well over his head.  Billups appeared in 19 games in two different stints, starting 7, before finally conceding the remainder of his season to a knee injury.  Here's what Billups was able to produce in what could be the last 309 minutes of his glorious Pistons carer:

PER PPG TS% eFG% 3P% 3PAr AST% TOV%
5.3 3.8 42.7% 39.2% 30.4% .608 18.7% 22.9%
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There are two ways to look at what Chauncey Billups did this season.  The first is to say that his numbers fell off because he didn't see a large enough sample of minutes.  The second is to say that he's just too old and his body won't allow him to play at the level he used to.  I'm inclined to believe that it's a little bit of both.  In his final year with the Clippers, Billups managed a 15.0 PER, shot 40.2% from three and had a Free Throw Rate over two times as high as his was this year (.152 v. .364).  It's entirely possible that Billups would have turned his play around had he been able to get healthy.  Alas, he didn't, and the veteran PG is looking at possibly ending his career with easily the worst season he's had yet.

Chauncey Billups made 10 of his 31 shots inside the arc.  I'm no John Hollinger, but I think that's bad.  However, it's not overly concerning for a guy who took more than 60% of his shots from behind the long line.  Billups excelled on the left side of the arc, and that kind of perimeter shooting would have been more than welcome over the course of the season.  He also managed to go 3/26 from the top of the key and the right side of the arc.  Billups' shot chart is based on too little playing time to really give any meaningful information, but that kind of zone shooting is alarmingly bad nonetheless.

OUTLOOK FOR NEXT YEAR

2014-15 Status: Team option for $2,500,000 (via basketball-reference)

The safe assumption to make is that Billups will retire at some point this offseason.  Players going into their age 38 season coming off of knee surgery don't tend to make for productive options.  If Billups doesn't choose to retire, the team could choose not to pick up his option.  That would be the worst PR move the organization has made since...well, trading Billups.  Regardless, I'm expecting Billups to retire and transition to a front office position, hopefully in Detroit's organization under the new GM.

2014 SEASON GRADE: A+ (Now retire, please)

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