No place like home for Denver native Billups

By: AP
By: AP

Chauncey Billups' vertical has diminished and his speed in the open court slowed.

That's fine with the Denver Nuggets they just like him for his winning touch.

The Mile High City native led the Detroit Pistons to six straight Eastern Conference finals with his impeccable decision-making abilities and clutch shooting.

That's why the Nuggets acquired Billups, along with Antonio McDyess and Cheikh Samb, from Detroit this week for Allen Iverson.

They like his no-nonsense attitude when it comes to winning.

''I'm coming to work, I'm coming to win,'' Billups said Thursday. ''If guys want to win, they're going to fall in line. That's all I play for that's the only reason I play is to win.''

While Billups is on board, McDyess may soon be bought out of his contract. His agent, Andy Miller, called his chances of returning for a third stint with Denver ''very low to zero.''

''I don't think it has to do with a destination or a city right now,'' Miller said. ''I think it has more to do with his ability to pick and choose his destination ... He really had difficulty with the whole thing.''

Not so with Billups.

He's a celebrity around Denver, a high school prodigy who went on to play at the University of Colorado. Billups couldn't wait to get back for a second stint in Denver.

After all, Billups' first time in town didn't go as he expected he was forced to play shooting guard with Nick Van Exel already running the show and later dislocated his left shoulder, requiring season-ending surgery.

''When I first came back here, I was like the hometown kid coming back,'' Billups said. ''Now I'm a man.ing Billups what he expected out of him make big shots and play huge in big games.

That's all.

Then again, it's nothing that he hasn't already done.

''My game is not a game that's speed or jumping, my game is methodical,'' Billups said. ''It's being a good shooter, making good decisions.''

Not to mention winning.

That's why the Nuggets will heed his advice on the floor.

''He has a championship ring,'' Martin said, grinning.

Billups is looking forward to pushing the ball up the floor, not running a ball-control offense like he did with the Pistons.

Still, he'll miss his teammates in Detroit, even wondering why the team was imploded so early in the season.

''When you get a special group of guys like that, you don't really give up on it that fast,'' he said.

Although he's now in Karl's high-octane system, Billups won't get carried away. He still values possessions too much.

That's why he expressed some concern after catching the Nuggets' loss to Golden State on Wednesday night.

''A lot of times some of the players lack some self discipline out there, as far as bad shot selection and turning the ball over,'' Billups said. ''I think it's really a thin line when you want to run and gun run, run, run. You've still got to try to take care of the ball. You've got to get stops.''

That's exactly what Karl wanted to hear from his new point guard.


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