KCP gets starting nod with Billups out injured

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will start at shooting guard in place of Chauncey Billups, who is out with knee tendonitis.

It's official, Chauncey Billups is out tonight with knee tendonitis, according to the Detroit Pistons. And while head coach Maurice Cheeks is officially being coy about who takes his place in the starting lineup, according to one Pistons player, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is getting the starting nod.

While addressing, and apologizing for, his silly Twitter feud with J.R. Smith of the New York Knicks, Brandon Jennings indicated that Caldwell-Pope would be his running mate in the backcourt tonight against the Sacramento Kings, according to the Detroit News.

This should please most Pistons fans, who have been screaming for lineup changes during the Pistons ugly losing streak, where the team has displayed next to no ability to defend the perimeter. While that doesn't completely fall on the shoulders of Billups, he was the starter easiest to replace with a more gifted athlete and defender -- Rodney Stuckey or KCP.

Vincent Ellis suspects KCP is getting the starting nod because Cheeks likes what Stuckey brings off the bench. I like it because KCP should eventually be the better perimeter shooter, and he should provide as good if not better defense than Stuckey can bring.

The next question, logically, is whether this is a one-night shift because a player is injured, or if this is a permanent move to a new starting shooting guard, with Billups easing his way into backup point guard duties (where he will have to fend off Will Bynum).

There is no way to answer that question -- yet -- but a win tonight to snap a losing streak could go a long way in cementing Caldwell-Pope's spot in the starting lineup.

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