2012-13 Year in Review
It's been a rough couple of years for Chauncey Billups. Twenty games into his tenure with the Clippers to start the 2011-12 season, he suffered his first major injury since he was 23 years old. A torn Achilles tendon put him out of action for the rest of the year and injuries resulting in the recovery process cost him much of last season as well.
In addition to struggling through the injuries, he also faced a crowded backcourt in Los Angeles which required him to spend much of his time at shooting guard. The two factors combined in a dramatic drop-off in his numbers. Just two years removed from an All-Star season, last year Chauncey posted a line of 8 points and 2 rebounds per game.
An interesting element that stands out about Billups' two seasons with the Clippers was the complete disappearance of his game inside the three-point line. Prior to joining the Clippers, about 40 percent of his field goal attempts came from behind the three-point line. With LA, he was essentially a spot-up three-point specialist, with 60 percent of his shots coming from behind the arc.
With this emphasis on three pointers, his rate of getting to the line dropped to 4.1 per 36 minutes, down from his career average of 5.5 per 36 minutes. But his game inside the paint was nonexistent. Last year he attempted only 13 shots at the rim, compared to 107 three-pointers. He only made 5 of these shots, good for a 38.5% where he was once able to convert at the rim at a percentage in the mid-50s in previous seasons.
While this may indicate a decline in his athleticism as he gets older, he may just be focusing his attention on getting to the line rather than actually making the shot. Compared to those 13 shots at the rim, he had 48 free-throw attempts last year (which he converted at 93.8%). This savvy scoring kept him as an efficient scorer despite his 38% field goal percentage during his time in LA. His true shooting percentage was 57% over this time, compared to the average shooting guard's figure of 52.9%.
In short, Chauncey Billups couldn't be inefficient if he tried.
Areas to Improve in 2013-14
Stay healthy. Billups says that much of his difficulty with his injuries resulted from that torn Achilles. He now reports that he's feeling good and is the healthiest that he's been since prior to his injury.
He'll turn 37 prior to the season, however in recent seasons Steve Nash and Jason Kidd have both managed to log heavy minutes with relatively strong play at that age. Billups will have the added benefit of reduced pressure thanks to the Brandon Jennings trade stabilizing the point guard position. He can focus on providing as many or few minutes as he's capable. It's really an ideal situation.
2013-14 Projected Production
With such a dramatic drop in production over the past two years, it's easy to question how much Chauncey has left in the tank. It's also easy to forget how damn good of a player he is. Prior to his Achilles injury he was still one of the most reliable point guards in the league, putting up an incredibly efficient 17 points and 6 assists per game on a regular basis. And he was still 34 when he was putting up those numbers.
A Renaichauncey could absolutely be realistic. But it probably won't look like the last time he wore the No. 1 jersey for the Pistons. In fact, if it does it means something's gone very wrong -- that Jennings wound up injured or shot his way into Cheeks' doghouse, or perhaps that no one else stepped up to claim their spot in the shooting guard rotation. Still Chauncey offers great insurance if something does go wrong and, if healthy, will be best backup point guard in the league by far.
20 minutes per game, 9 points, 3.8 assists, 1.3 turnovers, 61% TS