Chauncey Billups is changing the Nuggets…for the better

Dave Krieger of the Rocky Mountain News says that Chauncey Billups is changing the Nuggets, especially on the defensive end. It’s hard to argue, as the Nuggets are 5-1 since he joined the team.

Remarkably, the Nuggets have scored more than 100 points in just one of those five wins – the first one. Billups is rapidly changing their very identity.

“We won a game playing defense,” Billups said after the 90-84 decision over Minnesota. “We’ve done that a couple times since I’ve been here. And I think for me personally, I get a lot more confidence winning games playing defense than winning the run-and-gun game. Now, when we can start making shots and we can get where we need to be offensively and continue to play defense, then we can be dangerous.”

Although Billups hit only seven of his 23 shots, the Nuggets outscored the Timberwolves by 17 points when he was on the floor, the best plus-minus rating of any player on either team.

“The scoring thing is just an extra bonus,” said Billups, who finished with a game-high 26 points. “So if I’m struggling from the field, I’m not going to let everything else in my game just lay down. I won’t allow that to happen. And I’ll try to teach a lot of the other guys on this team the same thing: ‘So what if you don’t make shots? Give me something else.’ And I try to lead and do that by example.”

Carmelo Anthony, among others, seems to be getting the message. Despite hitting only four of his 17 shots, Anthony grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds, his second double-figure night on the boards in as many games.

For the last few years, the closest thing the Nuggets had to a defensive identity was Marcus Camby, and they gave him away to the Clippers last summer. Billups brings hard work and determination, and that can be infectious, especially for a young team. George Karl’s teams have a notoriously short attention span when it comes to defense, so it will be interesting to see how long this renewed focus lasts.

And I wonder just how much better they would be with Camby manning the middle.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Related Posts

2 responses to “Chauncey Billups is changing the Nuggets…for the better”

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>