Billups signed a two-year deal with the Pistons before the start of the season with an option for the second year, but now comes word the man revered as “Mr. Big Shot” may not even make it through a season.
“Father Time is undefeated, man,” said Billups. “My gas light is on.”
In his day, the 38-year-old Billups pushed it like few others have around Motown. He led the Pistons to the franchise’s last NBA title in 2004, bagging the NBA Finals MVP along the way. A five-time All-Star Billups’ best season also came as a Piston in 2005-06, when he averaged 19 points, nine assists and three rebounds.
But much of that now seems like ancient times, as Billups has played in just 63 of a possible 207 games over the last three seasons, including just 19 games this season. Just last week, Billups had knee surgery to clean up a left meniscus tear. He is on record is asserting he hopes to play again this season, but he’ll be the first to tell you there are no guarantees.
“It all kind of depends how this feels and how things are with the knee,” he said. “If the knee is fine, then sure, absolutely, I would like to come back. If it’s not, I don’t want to come back and do this. It’s tough to do this, especially on a team when we’re not a winning team at this stage.”
The streak-shooting PG is sure of one thing, however, telling the website “I’m not gonna rush back. I just want to get it better.”
Long regarded as one of the league’s smartest players, Billups knows chances are there’s a hoop’s future for him beyond this season, no matter how quickly he recovers. Part of his motivation for returning to Motown is his belief that there’s a chance for him to slide over to the front office once he’s done playing.
But first, there’s the matter of the Eastern Conference playoff chase. The Pistons currently stand at 24-34, four game behind eighth-seeded Atlanta for the conference’s final playoff spot. And Chauncey Billups still believes he could be the difference maker.
“I feel like if my knee was fine all year, we probably wouldn’t be in the position we are in,” said Billups. “We’d probably be a little bit higher up in the standings, I would think.”