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Chauncey Billups knows he’s good

There's a nice article about Denver-native Chauncey Billups in today's Denver Post:

There is a difference between being cocky and being confident. Detroit Pistons guard Chauncey Billups is confident, not cocky. But the truth is the truth. And the truth, which the former University of Colorado and George Washington High School star has no problem agreeing with, is that no point guard in the NBA is playing better than he is right now. Better than reigning MVP Steve Nash, Allen Iverson, Baron Davis or anyone else.

"I'm playing great and it shows by our record," Billups said. "I feel no one is playing better than me at my position. There are some great ones. The MVP of the league is one. But the way I've been playing, the way I've bumped up my numbers and the way we've been playing, I don't think anyone is better.

"It's not cocky, arrogant, nothing. I just have the confidence in myself. It's not slighting anybody."

It only takes a quick look at his career statistics to see that Billups is enjoying the best season of his career. Through 21 games, he's averaging a career-best 18.4 ppg and 8.8 apg, and his shooting percentages (45.7 FG%, 45.7 3P% and 92.2 FT%) are as high as they've ever been.

Despite winning the NBA Finals MVP in 2004, Billups has been relatively under-appreciated by mainstream NBA fans, but a possible Olympic invitation shows that he's starting to be recognized as an elite talent. Unfortunately, the All-Star voting is still pretty much just a popularity contest among fans, and in the early returns he's a distant fifth among the guards behind Allen Iverson, Dwyane Wade, Vince Carter and Jason KiddRip Hamilton is seventh..

You should still vote for Chauncey today if you haven't already, but even if he doesn't get the well-deserved start, it's starting to look like a virtual certainty that he'll at least be invited to the game for the first time in his career as a reserve.

Billups at top of his game [Denver Post]