MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 27: Chauncey Billups #4 of the New York Knicks shoots a foul shot during a game gainst the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on February 27, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Chauncey Billups
When the Knicks traded for 34-year-old Chauncey Billups as part of the deal that landed Carmelo Anthony, critics wondered if he would be able lead Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo offense in the way Raymond Felton had before being shipped to Denver.
It took Billups just four games to prove that not only is he capable of effectively running the point, he can also take over if needed.
Despite suffering a thigh bruise late in Tuesday night's loss to the Magic that will keep him out of the lineup at least two games, Billups appears to be in the Knicks' plans going forward.
"From day one, I said everybody underestimated Chauncey in this deal," team president Donnie Walsh said. "We have the beginning of a team we can build into a championship team. We have two super players and Chauncey is as good as anybody [we've] played against."
The topic came up because Billups' contract expires after the season, but also because New York hosted the New Orleans Hornets Wednesday night, and their current point guard, Chris Paul, could be a possible future Knicks target.
Billups wasn't on the Knicks bench as they dismantled the Hornets, 107-88, because NBA rules require that players wear at least a sports jacket and his suits had yet to arrive from Denver.
Instead of shopping for new clothes, Billups was receiving treatment. So he missed the Madison Square Garden crowd chanting "We want Paul!" and "CP3!"
"If they said that, it's an honor," Paul said of the fans, according to the New York Daily News. "But I'm more focusing on what I have to do to help us win." As for the future, Paul's not thinking about it. "That's a long time (away) right now. You know, free agency."
So for the time being, Billups is the guy and Walsh seems quite comfortable with that. "I think the way he's playing, I think it's going to be longer than you guys think. I do," Walsh said. "I'll point to Jason Kidd. He's 39."