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Billups may step into a greater role for Detroit
by Adam Fluck
Posted on Oct 16
While Derrick Rose is expected to be back in the lineup after a one game absence as Chicago plays its first preseason game of the 2013-14 campaign at the United Center on Wednesday (7 p.m. CT on CSN-Chicago), his counterpart at point guard for Detroit will be sidelined for a few weeks.
Brandon Jennings, whom the Pistons acquired from Milwaukee in a sign-and-trade over the offseason, is dealing with an impacted wisdom tooth and a hairline fracture of the jawbone at the base of that tooth that could keep him out of action until at least early November.
Jennings’ backcourt mate, Rodney Stuckey, will also miss a couple weeks after slamming the tip of his right thumb in his car door, according to a report on Pistons.com.
Thus, first-year Pistons coach Mo Cheeks’ options are limited, saying he plans to go with a lineup of Will Bynum, Kyle Singler, Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond against the Bulls.
While five-time All-Star Chauncey Billups signed a two-year deal over the summer to return to Detroit, Cheeks said the veteran point guard wouldn’t play again until Thursday in Cleveland.
While Billups, a veteran of 16 NBA seasons, didn’t return to the Pistons anticipating on playing a great deal of minutes, he said he’s ready to contribute when called upon.
“I’m having a good time with it,” said Billups of his role. “I came here to play. I didn’t come here to play 35 or 40 minutes like I used to, but I came here to play and I’ll be ready to go. If I have to play a few extra minutes until the guys are back, that’s fine.
“It’s not an issue; its basketball,” added Billups. “Hopefully we get our guys back fast.”
Billups, therefore, will miss an opportunity to go head to head with Rose, a teammate of his in 2010 on the USA Basketball men’s national team that won gold at the FIBA World Championship.
Rose sat out the team’s game Saturday in Rio de Janeiro with soreness in his left knee, a move that the team called precautionary. But in Chicago’s first two games, Rose averaged 13.0 points, 3.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 21.7 minutes per game. That’s all Billups needed to see that he’s ready.
“I’ve been watching him, and he’s back, man,” said Billups. “He’s got his explosiveness back. I think just playing in games and getting a rhythm, that comes pretty quickly once you get back healthy.
“I’m happy that he was smart enough to wait until he was ready,” added Billups. “A lot of young guys, you get so antsy. This is what we do, it’s basketball and you want to get back as fast as possible. So I’m happy that he took his time.”
Another player Billups is familiar with is Rip Hamilton, a longtime teammate of his in Detroit as the Pistons reached the Eastern Conference Finals in six straight seasons and won the 2004 NBA championship. After two seasons with the Bulls, Hamilton, a veteran of 14 professional seasons, remains unsigned.
Billups said he hasn’t talked with Hamilton since training camp started, but believes he can still contribute if given an opportunity.
“I’m not sure what he’s going to do, but I am surprised [he hasn’t been picked up by a team],” said Billups. “I’m hoping that sometime soon somebody picks him up. I worked out a lot with him this summer and he’s in great shape, looking like the Rip of old. He got himself healthy again and he can really help somebody.”