Friday, October 1st, 2010 at 8:00 am  |  59 responses

Top 50: Chauncey Billups, no. 23

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Eric Woodyard / @eric32woodyard

Only three words can describe Chauncey Billups entering his 14th season as a professional basketball player: “Grown Ass Man.”

Coming off a great individual season in which Billups averaged a career high in points (19.5 per game) there shouldn’t be a question in anyone’s mind that this season will be any different. He’s older, smarter, tougher, and better. Turning 34-years-old on September 25th, he’s like fine wine proving to be getting better with time. Think of him as the Bernard Hopkins of the hoop game! Hopkins was also that late bloomer who lost two of his first 24 pro fights including his very first match but later reigned as the middleweight champion for 10Chauncey Billups years and successfully defended his title a record 20 times. Billups is the same on the hardwood. His first five years were mediocre but since then he’s consistently shown the young guys that he’s still one of the best no matter what ending numbers on his D.O.B may say. His list of accomplishments already make a case for him as a future Hall of Famer.

• NBA Champion
• NBA Finals MVP
• Five-time NBA All-Star
• All-NBA Second Team
• Two-time All-NBA Third Team
• Two-time All-Defensive Second Team

Adding to his already sparkling resume, Billups did something else spectacular this summer…

The USA basketball team needed leadership for the 2010 FIBA World Championship Tournament. Who do you think they called? They tracked down Chauncey. The word “LEADER” should be embedded into this man’s DNA, tattooed onto his skin, etched over his grave stone. He’s damn near mastered this aspect of life.

With the younger players on the USA team knowing his leadership role before they even laced up their sneakers for game 1 of the tournament, he was easily able impose his will on the team and help lead them to the promised land. The USA didn’t lose a game as Kevin Durant left the competition non-existent and Billups played his part as the second leading player in points (9.8) and assists (3.1 per game).

Since 2002, Billups has been doing this. Leading a franchise. He’s always been in the discussion as one of the best at his position whether fans have liked it or not. We know what we’re going to get from him each season. He’s going to play hard, smart, and show up in crunch time. I can’t state it any more clearer, this season will be no different. He’s in that upper echelon of guards in the lead position. He’s top 5 in my book.

1. Chris Paul
2. Deron Williams
3. Steve Nash
4. Derrick Rose
5. Chauncey Billups

It’s unclear at this point which team Billups will be competing for this upcoming season. Portland Trail Blazers maybe?

We don’t know if Carmelo Anthony will be in the Mile High City, New Jersey, New York, or the Chi-Town.

What we do know is that Chauncey Billups will be putting another solid NBA season under his belt this year.

The days of “Mr. Big Shot” have been long gone since he departed from Motown, now he’s just a “Grown Ass Man.” Nothing more, nothing less.

Player Team Position 2010 2009 2010 2009
Ray Allen Celtics SG 50 36 11 10
Gilbert Arenas Wizards SG 49 34 10 9
Lamar Odom Lakers PF 48 33 14 10
John Wall Wizards PG 47 NR 13 NR
OJ Mayo Grizzlies SG 46 46 9 12
Al Horford Hawks C 45 NR 6 NR
Jason Kidd Mavs PG 44 45 12 10
Joakim Noah Bulls C 43 NR 5 NR
LaMarcus Aldridge Blazers PF 42 39 13 12
David West Hornets PF 41 31 12 8
Monta Ellis Warriors SG 40 NR 8 NR
Andrew Bogut Bucks C 39 NR 4 NR
Yao Ming Rockets C 38 NR 3 NR
Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 37 NR 11 NR
Zach Randolph Grizzlies PF 36 NR 11 NR
Stephen Curry Warriors PG 35 NR 10 NR
David Lee Warriors PF 34 NR 10 NR
Brook Lopez Nets C 33 NR 2 NR
Gerald Wallace Bobcats SF 32 NR 6 NR
Manu Ginobili Spurs SG 31 29 7 8
Tony Parker Spurs PG 30 15 9 3
Kevin Garnett Celtics PF 29 13 9 3
Rudy Gay Grizzlies SF 28 44 5 9
Josh Smith Hawks PF 27 40 8 13
Andre Iguodala 76ers SG 26 26 6 7
Al Jefferson Jazz PF 25 23 7 7
Russell Westbrook Thunder PG 24 NR 8 NR
Chauncey Billups Nuggets PG 23 19 7 5

• Rankings are based solely on projected ’10-11 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Jeremy Bauman, Maurice Bobb, Erildas Budraitis, Sean Ceglinsky, Ben Collins, Bryan Crawford, Sandy Dover, Adam Figman, Manny Maduakolam, Eddie Maisonet, Ryne Nelson, Doobie Okon, Ben Osborne, Charles Peach, Branden Peters, Quinn Peterson, David Schnur, Todd Spehr, Kyle Stack, Adam Sweeney, Dennis Tarwood, Tracy Weissenberg, Lang Whitaker, Eric Woodyard, and Nima Zarrabi.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • Anthony

    Do you think he’s HOF material ?

  • http://www.acb.com Alan

    sure he is

  • JTaylor21

    HELLS TO THE YES and his play is a vital part of whether Melo stays or whether the nuggs can still be legit contenders to LA’s WC supremacy. Also he is BETTER than RBrook at this very moment, one year down the line it might be different.

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    jtaylor, I agree that billups is better than russ at this moment but it might not take until next year for Westbrook to surpass him

  • Anthony

    I ask this because last time we discuss his case, people were saying they were atleast 10/15 better PG than him (in NBA history). And yes he’s HOF material for sure, if Dennis Johnson is in it, i cant see why Chauncey wont be.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    HECK NO, This dude bombed on the FIBA team, like I told everyone, he shoots the most dumb 3 pointers ever, trying to live up to the big shot name. PEOPLE he had three to maybe four good years in the NBA. Thats it, he is a journey man to me, who the team he won a title with, decided he is not worth it anymore. He is defintely not Hall of Fame material, he is Detroit Pistons ring of honor material and thats it. I would start Ty Lawson over him and trade him for some picks or more young players. ALSO I know why you left off the real stats, because YES the 19.5 points per game look good, but he shot .418fg% and .386-3ptfg% last year to get those 19 points, plus he only average 5 assist and 3 rebounds a game last year. And that is for his career too. THis dude is more overrated than Steve Nash. His Career Numbers are 15 5 3, so that’s a sign of a great player OK. He had a good situation in Detroit and Defense won games, not Billups, plus Big Ben will always be the leader to me on those teams. I hate to tear dude, down, but him being top 5 in league is joke now, yes 6 years ago he was, but now he is just living off of his 2004 to 2007 seasons. BOOK IT!!!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    I know you’re mad the C-billz sliced up your Lakers in 04, I can see how that would make you dislike the man, but seriously dude, he’s a great great PG and a great great leader, you go outta your way to bash the dude everytime anything good is mentioned about him.

  • twinparadox

    ooh…”steve nash is overrated” come on, seriously?
    but i guess I agree that Mr.Big Shot is probably not HOF material but damn Seed…you sure know how to bash a guy.


    Seed, come on man. Billups controls the pace of the game, hits his free throws a la Nashty, and he almost always finds a way to manufacture points to keep his team from panicking during tough stretches – usually by just driving to the basket and knowing how to get a whistle, or how to get someone to bump him for the call when he’s taking a jumper. Basically, Chauncey Billups is the exact opposite of AI, who the Nuggets used to be so volatile with when Karl tried playing him at point. smh…Bottom line Billups is all about the W’s, and I respect that. Carmelo learned how to be a better leader with Billups – kinda like how Derek Fisher has been LEADERSHIP training wheels for your boy Kobe. Not to digress, but even Amar’e learned how to be a LEADER playing with Nashty. Think about it, what do Billups, Fisher, and Nashty all have in common? LEADERS who are SMOOTH and have a penchant for hitting some really big shots, and I don’t just mean the end of the game kind of big shots. FYI y’all, Fa Fa Felton is gonna be the next Smooth for Melo, but in the Mecca as a Knicka. BOOK THIS FOR FUTURE REFERENCE!

  • Overtime

    Averaging his career high at this point in his career is actually quite impressive (if u look at it that way).
    Someone help me out, whats the highest age a player has achieved their career high in points?

  • Overtime

    Also, I do see some of the Seed’s argument. But lets not show his leadership, other qualities short

  • t-sizzle

    oh man, c-bills at this spot? you gotta be kidding me. like the seed said, dude had a few good years in detroit and that’s it. he doesn’t really hit those “big shots” anymore and he’s never put up any great numbers to warrant a HOF selection. Dude was good, not great, in his best years. he used to be a solid pg and had a knack for knocking down crunch time shots. but he doesn’t even do that anymore. he doesn’t get enough assists as a pg, and even though his scoring went up last year, it was at the sake of his %s, losing what really made him valuable. he’s also so much slower right now. i’d take many a young pg ahead of him, including russel westbrook who’s ceiling is so high. melo looking to skip town is attributed to the lack of talent and support, billups is far from enough to keep him in denver. productivity-wise, i don’t see billups blowing up with so many young pgs, who are getting quicker, stronger and smarter with age. this spot waaaay too high for billups!

  • letsmotor

    @overtime: pretty sure that would be sam cassell, who averaged 19.8 ppg as a timberwolf in the 03-04 season, when he was 34.

  • t-sizzle

    okay, i take back that he only had a few good years in detroit, his first few in denver were alright too i guess. but now, his j has really fallen off a bit, and i never see him hit shots when the team needs him to. another reason why they lost those playoff series to the lakers and jazz imo. he does bring leadership, but it doesn’t translate into production in games or stats. he can also control the pace, but then why not have d-fish in the top 50 for the same reasons?

  • Ronald

    His years in detroit were definately his best years. And, at that time arguable the best point guard in the league. But he has fallen off pretty badly the past few years. Considering he was brought in for leadership, shooting and defense to the Nugs, his tenure there might’ve been a dissappointment. It’s true that he ran the team pretty well in Detroit, but the Nugs have the most stagnant offense in the league, so the question arises whether it was Detroit’s system that made Billups or vice versa.

  • Ouse

    The top 50 list has been really inconsistent this year. I agree on the approximate position, but if I’m reading an article entitled: Top 50: Chauncey Billips, no. 23, I expect a piece which explains why he is the 23rd-best player in the NBA, not one stating his career accomplishments & the writer’s personal PG preferences.

    Kelly Dwyer’s Yahoo Sports lists of top players at each position was much better as it explained the relative postioning.

    I hope the higher positions have write-ups from actual Slam writers.


    Billups does so many things that don’t show up in the stat sheet, but one thing that does tend to show up, are those W’s.

  • Jer Dawg

    He’s Been consistantly excellent in his play and displaying leadership and other intangibles that do not show up in box scores. His intangibles led other men to develop and exceed their own expectations. Only Jason Kidd has gotten more out of players than Billups. And we say Jason Kidd is sure fire hall of famer, but Billups has NBA champion forever in his backpocket. Add another Denver legend in the hall of fame as a champion and leader, a la John Elway. Respect to Billups as a player doing his thing and not embarrassing ppl surrounding him and boo him as a Lakers fan for besting us in 2004.

  • Clownfish31

    What is it with this term “grown ass man”? This isn’t the first time I’ve read this term on Slam. Is it just me, or does it not really mean anything other than that a guy is really really accomplished? If so, there’s gotta be a much more elegant way of qualifying a top 50 player.

    That or there are a bunch of 19 year-olds writing up these articles.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    I read comments and everyone came back with the Leadership Stuff, are yall serious. What Leadership has he displayed in Denver. The team exploded the last two years in Denver and really bad that year against the Lakers. Where was Billups then, with his so call leadership, why can’t Billups leadership keep Melo straight, why can’t Billups leadership help J.R. Smith out, why hasn’t his leadership got them to a NBA Finals. I am tired of the leadership card being used with him. Also really ask yourself does Billups make any player better, tell me. In Detroit, Hamilton, Big Ben were all ready good and Prince started with a break out game and kept balling. Billups as a HALL OF FAME guard only averages 5 assists game and 3 rebounds and people compare him to Jason Kidd. LOL. This dude is living off of many years ago playoff performance and also people need to chk his last years in Detroit about what the media was saying about his game, Joe Dumars and others. Also he was the prime reason they couldn’t get back to that level, because he became an “I” player looking to hit big shots rather than make the right passes. His assists numbers are too low for my point guard list, but he is a great Leader because he helped lead a team with other good players like him to a 2004 Finals ring. SIX YEARS AGO doesn’t make you a leader now. Also I can care less about Billups beating my Lakers in 04, because if that doesn’t happen, everything else doesn’t happen, so this is not based off of my Lakers losing to his Detroit team.BOOK IT!!!


    Hey Seed, remember this crafty play by Billups?


  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    I love Chauncey and even more so, the type of player he is. No one team wouldn’t want him in any circumstance. But HOF? That’s for the Elite and if you objectively look at his body of work — he’s not at that level.

  • JTaylor21

    I agree 1000% with the Seed on Nash being overrated but disagree with him 10,000% on billups being overrated. Nash has played with better players but still hasn’t gotten to the finals while Billups went to the CF 7 straight years, won a chip, and Finals MVP.

  • mister8

    Sooo, does this make Tony Parker a hall famer also? Because I don’t think of Tony that way, but he has a finals MVP and three rings…, and pretty similar stats I believe.

  • Novo

    are you gonna tell me, that rajon rondo is not going to make the top 50 players or is he going tohave to retract the statement that billups is a top 5 point guard?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    cosign Tealish – although, i think chauncee will be one of those guys that gets in (HOF) kind of like Dennis Johnson did.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Billups is great but a HOFer? He spent the first half of his career as a journeyman.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    5 – Rose, 4 – Rondo, 3 – Nash, 2 – Williams, 1 – Paul. Thats how I have the top 5

  • http://hoopistani.blogspot.com hoopistani

    Rondo is a better point guard than chauncey. And Derrick Rose.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Uncle05Sam Earl

    @hoopistani Nooooooooooooooooooooo way.

  • anony mous

    I understand that any time you do a list like this, it will be arguable. I have no problem with Billups at 23, I just now have realized how odd this list is. I would take a lineup of #29-33 waaayyyy before #24-28.

    is better then

    Am I the only one that feels this way?

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Okay, where the fudge is Aaron Brooks?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    he’s not on the list teddy. If he was he wouldn’t be ahead of all these people. Sporting Lisbon pointed that out yesterday when i said the same thing, Brooks should be on this list, but it should have been 10 spots ago.

  • WolfNast

    If you like turnovers and bad shot selection pick Billups as your PG. I’d take every PG on this list over him. Maybe that’s why I’m not a GM or anything.

  • TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon

    this is a fu$king travesty!!! SLAM “contributors” are betting Billups will have a better season than Ginobili, Iggy, AllJeff, JoshSmiph, Westbrook, G.Wallace, BrookLopez, DLee, Aldridge, etc…meanwhile GMs around the league know if Melo leaves Denver Chaucey will be used as a salary dump…look, I like him but he belongs in the Jason Kidd area in the 40s…fu#kin incompetence.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Brooks is better than Curry and had a much better season than Russell Westbrook last year, nbk and Sporting Lisbon. I don’t see how this is debatable–you guys are just underrating him. And Sporting, the Rockets didn’t offer Brooks an extension because that’s their policy, not because he doesn’t deserve one.

  • TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon

    teddy, he deserves one, he just doesnt deserve to make what he would comand this summer…he jacked 7 3s per game and had TOTAL freedom, trust me, the Rox will be better with him being under control and actually running an offense, like I think he´ll do this season, though his numbers will go down..hes a liability defensivly, even being feisty, and has no place in the top 30, but Billups doesnt too and hes here..so I guess you can expect everything from this list

  • Mitya

    OK, not that I don’t like Chauncey, but this is the one I completely disagree with, because, PROJECTED ON THE THIS SEASON PERFORMANCE, half the guys that came before him are more valuable to their teams.
    Come on MAN

  • Lan

    Billups has that in-game management that makes his team play better.

    HOFer? if he keeps up the good work just like the rest of the top 5 mentioned.

    journeyman? Probably His contract amount was low enough for teams to trade him.

  • http://slamonline.com Saviour

    Seed, you sound like a damn fool…seriously just have a long think before you bother typing on the keyboard.

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  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    This list is based on the ‘prespective season’ these guys could have next season right???? Jason Kidd should really be on the outside looking in, that Berboius kid will be taking time away from Jason this season, Brook Lopez is going to look more like a top 20 player, purely because of the lack of centres in the league and their record won’t be as atrocious, Chauncey Billups seemed to have his spot based purely on history and thats not even a credential for grading on this list, Derrick Rose is much more likely to have a better season, as is Chris Paul just by being healthy, as is Darren Collison by locking up a starters spot in Indy….Nash might be the one guy whos production drops from that top cluster, but he won’t fall off much….. this list needs some work.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    The criteria is simple: The players are ranked based on what our esteemed panel expects them to contribute on the court this upcoming season.
    Here is it is. I found it on Ray Allens page – the original concept explanation. RANKED BASED ON EXPECTATIONS TO CONTRIBUTE ON THE COURT THIS SEASON
    Notable possible Rookies of the year – John Wall, Blake Griffin need to be in the top 50. Otherwise how can you realisically expect something workwhile from a ROY. By definition they need to impact the game. Either of those two could essentially be 1st or 2nd best player on their respective teams.
    Is the top 50 worked out in total before hand or does each writer take turns picking someone???
    If I had the energy to make a blog I would list my order but again…. i have this fractured hand.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    I am a fool, because I stated facts and came with actually staticitis not like some folks up here, that just talk for no reason. He shoots poorly and haven’t led a team in a while. In Denver the team has collapsed the last few years with him. They lost to a first round opponent they clearly should have beat and Melo wants out with Billups there. Also if you shoot so many dumb three’s to try to win games, then yes his ppg will go up, but his field goal percentage went down. He is an average guard who averages 15pts per game throughtout his career and 5 assists a game. I would take Andre Miller over him anyday, its just LIKE I SAID before, he went to a perfect situation with a defensive minded team, but they only got one ring out of all that time. I blame him and if you rewatch the old games after they won that one title you will see what he really did in the playoffs, that one NBA finals against the Lakers has carried him too long, DUDE save YOURSELF some time and state facts to back up your opinion and not just be a herb you can type one line and put insults in it. Pick your writing skills up. Suppose saviour. BOOK IT!!

  • Blackphantom

    ….Yes, Billups is HOF material. That’s almost a no-brainer

  • tavoris

    @The Seed-I thought Denver’s underachieving was all Iverson’s fault (sarcasm).

  • anony mous

    Lmao @ Seed for saying “pick your writing skills up”. #grammarfail


    The Seed bagging on Billups is about as ludicrous as a Lakers fan bagging on Derek Fisher.

  • PlanetAsia14

    Once and always Mr. Big Shot!

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long (Yes, that Brad Long)

    I miss the old slamonline.

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  • kos87

    Let’s face it, he is overrated!
    When people talk about him they always say leadership blah blah blah,every 30+ year old veteran PG is supposed to have that.He played in a loaded Detroit team in a weak conference.He is still playing through his reputation of those years,mainly 2004-05.Then he got worse and worse shooting the Pistons out of games and playing uninspired basketball.In team USA I believe he was one of the worst players,I couldnt count all the open shots he bricked in the tournament.Mr Big-Shot?C’mon…Just a good point guard that was in the right place at the right time.Number 35 at best.

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  • http://www.twitter.com/jtrain73 Jono

    Yea as a Nuggets fan I’m slightly disappointed by him last season. That crash against the Jazz was embarassing to say the least and such a disappointment. He’s still a top 10 pg and above Westbrook at this point but def not for long. He’s not been Mr Big Shot for awhile but theres no market for him (maybe the Lakers, but no assets in return) so I’d keep him till his contract runs out or Melo runs away. Anyways we could have kept Iverson and watch him bolt for friggin Turkey. Or drive Steve Hess mad. Or get more tattoos with Birdman. Or get into a punchup involving popcorn with JR and KMart.Man the Nuggets are really the Thuggets. Ok getting off topic here.

  • http://www.twitter.com/jtrain73 Jono

    Please stop talking about the Nuggets failure. This is already considered success. Anymore talk about them failing and Melo walking and you lot are gonna make me cry :(

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