Tag:Chauncey BIllups
Posted on: November 17, 2010 10:03 am

Shootaround 11.17.10: Lakers need some backup

Posted by Royce Young
  • With Theo Ratliff out 4-6 weeks and Andrew Bynum on the shelf still, the Lakers might be in the market for a short-term backup: “We have to have some support there interim until Andrew comes back,” Coach Phil Jackson said Tuesday. The Lakers will talk to the representative for free-agent Erick Dampier , though it might not be a good match for either side. Dampier will want more than a short-term contract, and the Lakers are looking for a little more mobility in the post."
  • Wilson Chandler wants to stay with the Knicks: "I'd love to be here," Chandler told FanHouse . "Just the city and just being close to the people in the organization. I just love being here. ... I think the future looks great (for the Knicks)."
  • Alan Hahn of Newsday: "Carmelo Anthony is making two franchises miserable right now. The Nuggets don't know whether their star will be back after this season and the Knicks are barely surviving without him. And before a lifeless crowd here at Pepsi Center, Anthony and the Nuggets barely held off the Knicks, 120-118, Tuesday night. The defeat extended the Knicks' losing streak to six games. Shooting was once again a major issue, especially from three-point range, where the Knicks were 9-for-31. It certainly wasn't a performance that would motivate Anthony to think he could be the missing piece to a championship team."
  • Blazersedge: "Sean Marks played six minutes and hit a mid-range jumper. I look forward to the day, reportedly coming soon, that Joel Pryzbilla's name appears on this line in place of Marks'. Paging you video fiends: a highlight reel of Marks running in circles while playing defense in the halfcourt would be pretty re-watchable."
  • By the Horns on a big performance by Derrick Rose: "Derrick Rose. Wow. When Rose got benched because of his fourth foul with 5:31 left in the third quarter, the Bulls were leading 60-58. By the time coach Tom Thibodeu subbed him back in to start the fourth, Chicago had fallen behind 71-63 and the Rockets seemed to have all the momentum on their side. Honestly, the Bulls couldn’t have looked any more discombobulated. Then Rose got ’em “combobulated” again."
Posted on: November 17, 2010 1:21 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:49 pm

Should the Denver Nuggets trade Chauncey Billups?

Is Nuggets point guard Chauncey Billups headed out of Denver? Posted by Ben Golliverchauncey-billups The Denver Nuggets have had an acceptable start to the 2010-2011 NBA season -- they're 6-5 so far -- after a summer of rumors and dysfunction. The problem for the Nuggets, as it is for every team in the Northwest Division: being "acceptable" simply isn't good enough.  As of Tuesday night, the Nuggets were in 4th place out of 5 teams, trailing a sharp Utah Jazz, a young and hungry Oklahoma City Thunder and a hobbled but fighting Portland Trail Blazers, all of whom figure to be in the division chase for the long haul.  The Nuggets have been dealing with a bunch of frontcourt injury issues and, of course, the ongoing questions about forward Carmelo Anthony, who seems destined to head out of town sooner or later. Anthony's departure would leave the Nuggets without an identity, meaning it would be time for a full-scale rebuild as soon as possible. Given that back drop, it's no surprise that veteran point guard Chauncey Billups, who is being pushed for minutes by promising backup Ty Lawson, is finding his name pop up in super early trade deadline chatter.  NBA.com raised the possibility on Monday .
If Denver decides to move Anthony, it would probably look to move the 34-year-old Billups as well. It is certainly conceivable that the Nuggets could take it all the way down, blow up everything, save some money for a couple of years and start rebuilding.
Newsday , meanwhile, notes that Billups' situation is "tenuous" but that he isn't yet on the trading block. He should be. His marginal value compared to Lawson isn't substantial, and the Nuggets are simply treading water and paying a huge price for his services when they don't appear to be legitimate championship contenders. His external value around the league remains strong, though, thanks to a solid reputation. Sure, Billups is on the downslope of his career, but the tank isn't empty and he is a proven champion. Billups' value will only drop if and when Anthony is moved, and his skillset is attractive to teams that are looking to win-now and teams that need a solid veteran to guide the development of younger players. The tricky thing with moving Billups is that it would be a clear sign to potential Anthony trade partners that Denver is really to blow things up completely, which could impact the package the Nuggets are able to receive in return. Therefore, the Nuggets are in a delicate chicken-or-egg dilemma with Billups and Anthony. Unless the Nuggets get red hot prior to the deadline, though, the arguments for shipping Billups off to the highest bidder, even at a discount, remain far stronger than the arguments for keeping him around. It would be hard for Denver to say goodbye to a local product, but it would be even harder to watch Billups guide a Carmelo-less Nuggets team into the lottery next season.
Posted on: September 27, 2010 11:55 am

What about Chauncey Billups?

Posted by Royce Young

Chauncey Billups is 34 years old. He's entering his 14th season in the league. He's won two NBA titles, a gold medal in the World Championships and has been Finals MVP. He only knows winning. And he only wants to play for a winner.

As Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! pointed out, Billups prefers to win over staying in his hometown. "I want to be playing for something," Billups said in Turkey.

And if the de-construction of the Nuggets happens soon and Carmelo Anthony is moved, Billups might be left walking to the front office, hat in hand, and asking for a way out as well.

Wojnarowski also mention in a report he filed Sunday that everyone on the Nuggets' roster is on the block, sans Ty Lawson and Billups. And while Denver might not be willing to deal Billups now, if a complete rebuilding project is underway, Billups doesn't sound like he's wanting to hang around for that.

J.R. Smith was tossed around in a few trade rumors earlier this summer and a player like Kenyon Martin is an attractive trade piece. Productive player, big contract and one that's up after this season.

Some of the deals proposed to Denver thus far give them a chance to stay competitive while also rebuilding. The original mega-four-team deal that brought the Nuggets Derrick Favors and Andrei Kirilenko wouldn't put Denver in complete rebuilding mode. They probably wouldn't be quite as good, but with Nene, Kenyon Martin, Chris Andersen, Lawson, Smith and Billups, a nice roster is still intact.

But start trading off pieces and acquiring expiring contracts and assets and some of the older players might not be willing to hang in for that. Billups has two years left on his current contract, but that doesn't mean he'll be in Denver for two more years. For one, 2011-12 is non-guaranteed.

If Carmelo can be convinced to stay Billups would likely finish his career in Denver. It's where he was born, where he grew up, where he went to school and somewhere he really likes playing now. But hometown loyalty only runs so far for an aging veteran.

Granted, he might be stuck there this year, but come next season when he's a valuable expiring deal? Billups would likely ship out looking for one last hurrah instead of guiding a batch of restructuring youngsters in the Rockies.
Posted on: September 10, 2010 3:30 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2010 3:33 pm

Lithuania stands between Team USA's shot at gold

Posted by Royce Young

It's not the team the United States expected to play in the semifinals. With Argentina rolling behind Luis Scola, there was almost no doubt that a showdown between the 2004 gold medal winners and the U.S. was coming. You could feel the buildup, even on Thursday morning, before Argentina played their quarterfinal game.

Except there was a problem. Argentina still had to play Lithuania. And by all appearances, they totally forgot about that.

Lithuania didn't slip past Argentina a team that was 6-0 going into that game. They didn't squeak by on a couple questionable calls or some uncharacteristic  hot shooting. Lithuania throttled the Argentinians. Like worked them over.

And while it might not be the game most expected in the semifinals of the 2010 World Championships, Lithuania is not someone to look past. If the U.S. didn't learn that lesson from what happened Thursday to Argentina, then Lithuania may do some more sneaking up.

But the U.S. knows this opponent. A little over two weeks ago in a friendly, Team USA defeated Lithuania 77-61 in New York. However, Lithuania held a 15-7 lead after one quarter and after 30 minutes of play, the U.S. only held a 9-point lead. But even since then, this is a Lithuania team that has really hit its stride. So while Team USA is familiar with its next opponent, there is still some studying to do.

How did Lithuania get here?
In group play, Lithuania cruised to a 5-0 record. Well, I shouldn't say cruised. More like scrapped. Their margin of victory in Group D was, 10 points a game. But that's inflated by 18, 13 and 14-point wins over Lebanon, New Zealand and France. Against Canada and Spain, Lithuania won by a total of five combined points.

In the tournament, they defeated China 78-67 in the round of 16 and then Argentina by 19, dropping 104 points on the former gold medal winners.

Who are their best players?
Lithuania is a pretty proud basketball country with a good history of winning and talented players. And one thing about them, is that they're missing some of their finest players. Sarunas Jasikevicius, Darius Songaila and projected lottery pick Donatas Motiejunas are all sitting out.

In Turkey, Lithuania has relied heavily on former Denver Nugget and new Toronto Raptor Linas Kleiza. Currently, Kleiza is averaging 19.1 points per game, good for sixth place at the Worlds. Against Argentina, Kleiza dropped 17 on 7-14 shooting and in the other big games (China, Canada and Spain), Kleiza averaged 21.6 ppg.

Besides him, Lithuania has three players averaging over nine points a game in forwards Jonas Maciulis and Martynas Pocius and guard Mantas Kalnietis.

What did we learn from the first meeting?
Not a whole lot. It was the first friendly for the U.S. against someone other than themselves and everyone looked fairly rusty. Durant went just 4-14 from the floor for 15 points. The two teams turned it over a combined 40 times and both shot right at 40 percent. Neither team opened up the playbook a ton and neither showed a whole lot.

It was clear from that game though that the U.S. held a pretty huge advantage in transition while Lithuania tried to run crisp in halfcourt sets. Lithuania wants to slow down. The U.S. wants to speed up.

How do they match up with the USA?
Not great. Well, not great for their sakes. Team USA is supremely more athletic. Kleiza will likely get the call against Durant, but even still, that's not a good matchup for Lithuania. Their guards will have a great deal of trouble running with Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Eric Gordon and someone like Chauncey Billups might see a million open shots.

Lithuania isn't afraid to zone and that may be what they do against the U.S. for most of the day. The matchups just don't play to their favor in really any way. They do hold a size advantage with nobody under 6'3 plus a guy that's 7'3, but that size differential hasn't affected the U.S. much to this point.

They can score and shoot though. They are sixth in the tournament in scoring per game at 81.9. They are also in the top 10 in rebounding. (The U.S. is first in both categories.) Against Argentina they shot 53 percent from the floor, 12-24 from 3 and had seven players score 12 or more points. So they're well-rounded and can put the ball in the basket.

Can Lithuania win?
Yes. Absolutely. In any tournament, when you're playing a hot team, it's reason for concern. Momentum and confidence is a strange thing in competition.

Other than the Brazil game, this is the first one Americans should actually fear. Russia put up a tough fight but they never had the horses to really make a push to win. While Lithuania doesn't have the matchups, they do have a reliable scorer than can carry them in Kleiza. If Russia had a player like that, they could've posed a much tougher task for the States.

It will likely be a lower scoring affair as Lithuania will try and slow the game down. I imagine it will be a couple possession game in the fourth, though the U.S. should handle business. But Lithuania is hot and they're hitting shots. If they get the 3 rolling like they did against Argentina and Kevin Durant isn't there to bail out Team USA again, it could be a long day for the red, white and blue.
Posted on: September 6, 2010 1:04 pm
Edited on: September 6, 2010 1:05 pm

Team USA dismantles Angola, 121-66

Posted by Royce Young

Some thought Team USA might have been holding something back in group play. Maybe they were, or maybe they're just hitting their stride.

The U.S. obliterated Angola 121-66 in a game that was only close at 0-0. It was 33-13 after the first, 65-38 at the half and in the end, 55 points separated the two teams.

This was easily the Team USA's best offensive performance as the U.S. hit triple-digits for only the second time in the tournament, scored the most points, shot a sizzling 53 percent and knocked down 18 3s on 38 shots. Kevin Durant and Chauncey Billups did most of the damage scoring 17 and 19 points, respectively, with all of Durant's coming in the first half. Rudy Gay and Eric Gordon both added 17 as well.

One of the most impressive and encouraging aspects of the game was the way the U.S. moved the ball. Team USA finished with 28 assists for their 41 made baskets, a pretty incredible number. Plus, the U.S. only turned the ball over four times and didn't have their third until the fourth quarter. It was near flawless offensive execution for the U.S., something that they had struggled with the past three games.

Angola helped some in getting the U.S.'s offense moving though. Angola didn't play hardly any man-to-man defense, but rather deferred to a very soft zone, letting the U.S.'s shooters have almost any look they wanted. Billups, who came in 4-19 on 3s in the previous five games, went 5-7 from deep. Gordon went 5-6 from 3. Derrick Rose hit 3 of 4. It was a shooting gallery for the U.S. and Angola didn't mind.

On top of the soft defense, Angola also never even attempted to control tempo. They were perfectly content with playing at the U.S.'s pace and as a result, didn't have a lot of of offensive consistency. The game was mainly free-flowing, especially on the Angola end. And the Angolans lack of size didn't help either. The U.S. won the boards 43-23 and snagged 19 offensive rebounds.

Angola's top scorer Olimpio Cipriano didn't play because of an injury sustained against Germany, but Joaquim Gomes had a nice night for Angola. He finished with 21 points on 9-12 shooting to lead all scorers.

Moving forward, there's not a ton to take from the game other than it looks like the U.S. is hitting on all cylinders. Which is obviously what you want to be doing heading deeper into the knockout round. The road is going to be much tougher than it was today, with a likely matchup against a quality Russia squad next.

Team USA has off Tuesday and Wednesday and will play the winner of Russia-New Zealand, who play a little later today.
Posted on: August 28, 2010 2:24 pm

Team USA crushes overmatched Croatia 106-78

"" Posted by Royce Young

As soon as the rumblings of a 2004 Puerto Rico flashback started with Croatia leading near the end of the first quarter, Team USA cranked it up. Cranked it up in a pretty big way.

The U.S. ran Croatia out of the building, holding them to only six second quarter points en route to a 106-78 blowout in the opening game for both teams of the World Championships. At the end of the first quarter, the U.S. led just 22-20, but then went on a 84-58 to finish the game. Kevin Durant led the U.S. with 14 points, Eric Gordon had 13 and Chauncey Billups finished with 12. Bojan Bogdanovic of Croatia led all scorers with 17.

Early on, it appeared as if the U.S. might be looking at a tough game against the Croatians. Team USA wasn't playing bad, but Croatia was really utilizing its superior size, hammering the ball down low to talented post player Ante Tomic. But the Americans locked down, started forcing turnovers and got out in transition. After that, it was a 46-14 run by the U.S. that really put the game to bed.

Any time you have a blowout like this, there's not a ton to take from it. But this was a potentially dangerous game for this young American squad. Croatia has quality players and was salivating at the chance to make an opening game statement. It was close early, but te U.S. cranked things up and pulled away.

Durant was excellent, hitting 5-11 from the floor, but he played his role as the center of Team USA perfectly. He had six rebounds, but he was best when drawing Croatian defenders only to drop off a couple beautiful passes to cutting teammates. He had three assists and put a lot of pressure on the Croatian defense constantly.

Derrick Rose quietly has a nice game, running the offense and moving the ball well. Kevin Love had 10 boards and seven points, Gordon hit three 3s and Lamar Odom was energetic early, contributing six points. Westbrook led Team USA with four assists. One player from Croatia that was especially impressive was Jazz property Ante Tomic. The 7'2 center finished with 12 points on 4-6 shooting and added eight rebounds. He clearly had a developed post game and quality footwork, but it's a matter of getting stronger. It's not hard to picture his game translating to the NBA.

What's obvious is that few teams will be able to hang with Team USA in transition. Croatia was constantly reaching in and fouling the Americans to break up the run-outs. While Croatia had a lot of size, those big guys just couldn't keep up. In general, the U.S. transition game is just lovely. One break in particular was especially beautiful. With a little under four minutes left in the second, Durant snagged a long rebound and zipped a pass to a streaking Rose. Rose then immediately fired a bullet to Russell Westbrook in stride and in the blink of an eye, the ball was flushed through the net by Westbrook. The whole break literally took three seconds. I timed it. Literally three seconds.

Team USA shot 54 percent from the field, hit 12 3s and only turned the ball over seven times despite running a lot in the open floor. The defense was strong and despite a sluggish start, there's no reason to be discouraged after this one.

Next up for Team USA is Slovenia tomorrow at 9:30 ET. The game can be seen on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com.
Posted on: August 25, 2010 12:01 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2010 9:14 am

NBA Pop Quiz: What teams might take a tumble?

Posted by Royce Young

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

  What teams are set for a drop in success?

Maintaining excellence for an extended period of time in professional sports isn't easy. Even the big spending, big market clubs have to make the right moves, retain players and keep putting a product on the field or floor that can win.

There are ebbs and flows with teams every season and in the NBA this year, we might begin to see a little shuffling with some of the familiar successful faces moving down the line in the standings while others move up.

So who could be moving down? Who might be dropping off a bit in 2010-11? Here are four candidates:

Phoenix Suns
It seems like every year, we're all waiting for this to happen. But every year Steve Nash defies the laws of aging, has a terrific season and keeps the Suns moving. But there was a constant variable in all of those seasons the Suns saw success - Amar'e Stoudemire. For the first time in eight years the Suns will be without Stoudemire, a player that worked perfectly in Phoenix's up-tempo style and Nash's pick-and-roll ability. Now in 2005 the Suns were without Stoudemire who underwent microfracture surgery, but that was with Nash still in his prime and with a ton more depth.

This time, the Suns replace Stoudemire with Channing Frye and Hakim Warrick, two capable players but obviously not to the caliber of Amar'e. If Phoenix intends to stay in the top tier of the West, a player with have to elevate his game. Maybe that's youngster Earl Clark. Maybe Robin Lopez continues his improvement. Maybe Warrick becomes the new Amar'e playing alongside Nash. Hedo Turkoglu is a new addition, but judging by his play in Toronto last year, he might not be a big help.

Phoenix will still be a good team and a likely playoff team, but with Nash's age and the downgrade in talent on the roster, the Suns might be looking at the beginning of the end.

Cleveland Cavaliers
Didn't they lose someone? Oh right, Delonte West and Shaquille O'Neal. Talk about starting over, you guys. Oh yeah, and that other guy too.

The Cavs are at an impasse they didn't see coming. Others might have seen the writing on the wall with LeBron, but The King's departure was a brick in the face to Cleveland fans everywhere. Any time you lose the face of your team, the face of the league and the best player on the planet, you're rebuilding by default.

The Cavs do have some quality players still, because instead of laying dynamite around the roster, the Cavs have decided to try and strive for mediocrity. And in the East, most of the time average is enough to get to the postseason. But this is a team that had won 60 games the last two seasons. The Cavs lost their star, their coach and their general manager. It's a time to start over for the Cavs and Anthony Parker and Joey Graham probably aren't going be the pieces that maintain the regular season excellence in Cleveland.

Toronto Raptors
Bryan Colangelo tried. He tried to shuffle things around and put together a respectable roster after the loss of Chris Bosh that could possibly stay where they were. But let's face it: Even with Bosh, the Raptors weren't exactly in the upper echelon of the East. With a failed trade for Tyson Chandler that would've moved Jose Calderon and a mishap in trying to sign Matt Barnes left the Raptors with a young roster that will struggle to win games.

Colangelo did do himself a favor by moving Turkoglu's contract, but he also gave Amir Johnson too much money and trading Marco Belinelli for Julian Wright doesn't do much for anyone. Toronto may be in the basement in the East and while it's not like they're falling from the top of the East, the Raptors are likely headed for a drop.

Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets aren't actually on this list... yet. But they will be, if (or when) they lose Carmelo Anthony. Reality is, any time you trade a superstar, you never get an equal return. I mean, how could you? Who's going to give back a top 5-8 player in the league or three players that equal Anthony's ability?

If Denver hangs on to Anthony for the season, it'll be business as usual for the Nuggets. They'll be good, they'll make the playoffs and will have a chance to advance a few rounds. But if they lose 'Melo, then it'll likely be a trip into mediocrity for Denver. The team hasn't enough talent in Nene, Chauncey Billups and Kenyon Martin to stay afloat, but in the West where it's win 50 or stay home the last two weeks of April, it would be tough for the Nuggets to do that. And of course reports are that J.R. Smith might be moving out as well. The Nuggets are facing a potential restructure, and while the roster is in tip-top shape now, it likely won't be come November.

Posted on: August 24, 2010 1:58 pm

Rajon Rondo withdraws from Team USA

Celtics guard asks to be cut for personal reasons, final roster set.
Posted by Matt Moore

A shocking development came down the pipeline of Team USA today, as Rajon Rondo has been cut from the team, after asking to withdraw for personal reasons . Head of USA basketball Jerry Colangelo thanked Rondo for his effort and commitment and issued a statement of support for the Celtics guard. Rondo had been the starter for Team USA, but had also looked lackadaiscal and dispassionate for long stretches.

The final cut was widely talked about being between Stephen Curry, whose game fits well on the international stage but who has been battling injury, and Russell Westbrook, the lowest name guard on roster. With Rondo out, they both make the team. Losing Rondo hurts in several key areas however. While a lot of talk has been about the lack of shooting on Team USA, an area Rondo was not equipped to help in, his pressure perimeter defense and distribution skills were unmatched among the plethora of guards Coach K and Colangelo decided to take overseas. Losing him means Derrick Rose will need to step up considerably on both sides of the ball to be the distributor, with Chauncey Billups primarily playing shooting guard for the club.

The final Team USA roster, finalized today with Rondo's withdrawal:

Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets)
Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks)
Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies)
Eric Gordon (Los Angeles Clippers)
Danny Granger (Indiana Pacers)
Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers)
Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Lamar Odom
(Los Angeles Lakers)
Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)
Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)

The 2010 FIBA World Championships begin Saturday.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com