by Tracy Weissenberg / @basketballista
It seemed special when Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups came together on the Clippers last season. Paul, considered by many to be the best at his craft, had left it all on the court so many times without tasting the elusive success that comes with playing on an elite team. Billups, whose teams reached the Conference Finals for seven straight years, knew the feeling of standing atop the basketball world. He was named Finals MVP on the Pistons’ 2004 Championship team.
The two seemed to instantly click—a superstar and a pro’s pro—with the opportunity to turn around L.A.’s overlooked basketball franchise. With the Lakers hanging 16 banners in the building both teams share, what would it mean for the Clippers to win just one?
Unfortunately, the potential of the backcourt never fully came to fruition, as Billups’ season was cut short with a torn left Achilles’ tendon. This season, the Clippers brought back Billups as well as new additions including Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes, Lamar Odom, Grant Hill and Willie Green. While many are wondering about how the minutes will be distributed, Billups chooses to look at the positive. On the team’s depth, he says, “I’d rather have it than not have it. Have it and not need it than need it and not have it.”
One thing is for sure. There will always be room for Billups, and even from the sidelines, his impact is felt.