Former Detroit Pistons NBA Finals MVP and multiple-time All-Star Chauncey Billups has finally made the leap to the other side of the out-of-bounds line after being named a lead assistant on the Los Angeles Clippers coaching staff. Billups joins new head coach Ty Lue after the surprise departure of Doc Rivers.
It has been an open secret for years that Billups was interested in an executive or lead coaching role after retiring from the NBA. Originally more interested in the front office, Billups was reportedly a candidate when Stan Van Gundy was deposed and Detroit was rebuilding its executive ranks. Billups, however, apparently didn’t want to be an assistant GM and wanted the whole enchilada and to be able to run a franchise.
It’s not surprising that Detroit, already so many years in the NBA hinterlands, balked at taking that kind of risk.
Billups has never coached before but immediately becomes a lead assistant under Lue. He is also still reportedly a finalist for the head coaching job with the Indiana Pacers despite taking the job with the Clippers.
The former star point guard has no previous head coaching experience, but is well thought of throughout the league from both former and current players and executives. Already this year another star guard of the same era, Steve Nash, became the head coach fo the Brooklyn Nets with no coaching experience, and he is expected to keep for a championship right away.
The Pacers have a history of naming former players with no coaching experience to lead their franchise. The Pacers named Larry Bird head coach with no prior coaching experience and he was named Coach of the Year in his first season with the franchise.
When Bird stepped down, the franchise named another legendary Pistons point guard with no coaching experience to the role — Isiah Thomas. He lasted three seasons before being fired.