You Call Him Pretty Good, I Call Him a Superstar

Check out Chauncey Billups’ Composite Scores for the past five years and prepare to be amazed. His overall ranks from 2004-08: 15th, 9th, 2nd, 14th, and 2nd, respectively. Among point guards, his ranks are: 3rd, 2nd, 1st, 4th, and 1st. On the Pistons, a consistently excellent team over this time period, he’s been the highest rated player every year except for 2004, when he was second behind Rasheed Wallace.

At this point, you probably have the same thought most people have. Yeah, you knew he was good, but this good? Come on. I must be kidding you, right?

I kid you not. Billups really is that good. But it’s easy to see why most people underrate him on a daily basis. For one, he just doesn’t look like a superstar. He’s slow for his position, plays below the rim, doesn’t have particularly fancy dribbling skills, and just doesn’t really do anything that makes you say “wow.” The other reason he’s underrated is because when people look at his numbers, they see the wrong ones. 17 points per game. 6.8 assists per game. 44.8% field goal percentage. Solid, yes. But superstar-like? No way.

Let’s dissect these fallacies one by one. As for how he looks, you can just forget about that right now. Winning basketball games often is not pretty. Look at the consistently good teams and you’ll notice they play quite ugly. It may sound cliché, but playing smart, tough, and efficiently is the best way to win.

This brings me to my next point: efficiency. Billups is arguably the most efficient player in the league. Although his overall field goal shooting percentage is nothing special, he shot 40.1% on three-pointers last season, and he took a lot of those. His free throw percentage was an astounding 91.8%. Factor in those two numbers and you see that Billups ranked 15th in the league in True Shot Percentage last season and second among point guards. In addition, his turnover rate was 15th best out of the 70 point guards that played 500 or more minutes last season (stats courtesy of For a player who had to create a lot of shots (his usage rate ranked 8th among PG’s), that’s very impressive. In offensive rating, which is a great indicator of pure efficiency, Billups ranked third in the NBA (

Chauncey is not as good defensively as he is offensively, but he’s no slouch in that area either. His defensive ratings, which could potentially be skewed because he plays on a good defensive team, are nothing special. This gives me the impression his defensive numbers are legitimate. He excels in counterpart PER, which basically estimates the Player Efficiency Rating of the players he’s guarding. Simply put, opposing point guards routinely get shut down by Billups.

The success of the Pistons supports my claim of his superstardom – when Billups is playing well, they’re nearly unbeatable, but when he struggles, so does the team. He’s also very durable. He’s played at least 70 games in every season since 1999-2000. Add it all together, and Billups is a great player. He’s efficient on offense and solid on defense, two keys to winning championships.

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Way to get everyone’s blood boiling. I’m gonna mark all the days Detroit play San Antonio right now. It’s gonna be a slugfest of efficiency and solid defense!

Can Chauncey produce higher usage rate than Tony Parker?! I’ll be on the edge of my seat for every possession.

Basketball Purests that can appreciate more than dunking and 130-133 point games do find entainment in efficent, defencive players like Parker and Billups. I like this articel becuase it points out reasons that a solid player is underrated, and you dis it for no good reason, powpands. Feel better about yourself?

Billups is a fine model for PGs. Chris Paul is another. Different styles can be successful. They share good passing and getting foul shots. But Billups has the shot and the defense. Paul has the flash. Both blessed to be on very good teams designed around them.

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