Hall of Fame debate: Chauncey Billups

VIDEO: A Chauncey Billups slideshow

Chauncey Billups’ candidacy for the Hall of Fame, now that he has retired and the clock officially starts on the enshrinement conversation, begins with a problem: the greatest selling point for a ticket to Springfield, Mass., is a tough sell.

He was a leader in 17 seasons with seven teams, filled with positive intangibles that never reach the box score. He was a difference maker in attitude alone as Detroit won the title in 2004 and Denver reached the Western Conference finals in 2009, a locker-room presence chosen by the league as the first winner of the Twyman-Stokes Award in 2013 as the “player deemed the best teammate based on selfless play, on and off-court leadership as a mentor and role model to other NBA players, and his commitment and dedication to his team.”

He was even the kind of person chosen by the media as winner of the 2008 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for charity work.

Billups’ strongest attribute cannot be measured. Now, get two sets of voters — one that determines the finalists, another in a second round of voting that chooses the inductees — to put that into tangible terms on the ballot when Billups becomes eligible to be nominated for the first time as part of the Class of 2019.

Which makes two problems.

Besides the first issue, 15.2 points, 5.4 assists and 41.5 percent from the field, with one top-five finish in assists average and a lot of years less than 42-percent shooting, does not get anyone inducted.

Five All-Star appearances, three as a Piston and two with the hometown Nuggets, is a big credibility boost. Being named second-team All-Defense twice, second-team All-NBA once and third-team All-NBA twice will matter. Having a lead role on a championship team — while being named Finals MVP — and also winning a gold medal with the United States in the 2010 world championships will count for a lot.

But being a positive force of energy is what set Billups apart and made him a player to emulate more than the gaudy numbers usually required for a serious Hall bid. It’s why there is a very good chance he will be in the conversation when the time comes, but not get across the line, a good talent with unique qualities but not historic.

“The Hall of Fame would be a big dream,” Billups told Yahoo! Sports in making his retirement announcement. “It marks you down as one of the greatest players ever. It’s not what I shot for, but that would absolutely be a dream. I know in my heart I had a Hall-of-Fame worthy career. If you look at most Hall of Famers, I don’t know how many of them started off the way I started off and made it to the top.”

There is also that, how Billups is a reminder not to give up on top picks too soon, the way he was traded around and played for four teams the first three seasons after going No. 3 in the 1997 draft and didn’t find a real permanence until signing with the Pistons in 2002. He didn’t give up on the dream of a real career in the NBA. Same thing now. He will keep pointing to Springfield.

17 Comments

  1. Joeji of Manila, Philippines says:

    A no-brainer Hall of Famer… Give me to at least 3 other players in the NBA who have accomplished the same feat…besides, I believe it’s about time that they consider the circumstances of each and every player and what they did and accomplished notwithstanding said circumstances. A journey man who succeeded and earned the respect of the entire NBA community??? Not to mention his achievements as above-mentioned? Res ipsa loquitor…

  2. BBs says:

    Oh,c’mon. He has NBA finals MVP,NBA championship,FIBA world cup gold……sure,HOF!
    Players above like: Battier,Carter,Horry,McCgrady are good players,but on list with that names,he’s the best.
    Other mentioned players doesn’t have NBA championship or FIBA,Olympic title,neither both.Chauncey have that.And he plays a big role in both competitions.

  3. Another Cavs Fan says:

    The thing is, if Billups makes hall of fame, then Robert Horry and Tracy McGrady MUST also make it.
    Also vince carter should make it.

    I don’t have a problem with all these people making it, i’m just saying if billup makes it and one of the others i listed don’t it would be unfair…

  4. CAVSFAN says:

    They didn’t add Jo Jo White to the HOF either even though he was an outstanding point guard just like Billups. I believe both should be inducted to the HOF, especially if roleplayers like Rodman and Horry are considered.

  5. jamiitata says:

    Billups as a team leader has many accomplishments. The Pistons were the most dominant team in the east for about a decade when he was on the team. They advanced to the Eastern Conference finals 6 consecutive years and they never missed the playoffs for the tenure Billups was there. He then went on to get the Nuggets to the 2nd round for the first time since the Carmelo Anthony era began and also went on to get them to Western Finals that season as well. So 7 consecutive seasons Billups played a significant role in taking a team to the conference finals. No other guard of the 2000’s can say that. Not Kobe, not Tony Parker, not Jason Kidd, not Ray Allen. Ray Allen will make the HOF because he is an outstanding shooter, one of the best. Billups, should make the HOF because he is an outstanding leader, one of the best. I believe wholeheartedly Billups will be in the HOF for being a model of how the team game should be played.

  6. loam moody says:

    shane battier is better so he should make the hall of fame

  7. Miguel D. says:

    His stats might not be there but the awards made him qualified. Kinda reminds me of Dennis Rodman in that sense. Like him, Billups will be one of the last Hall of Fame inductee in his era. Of course, it’s going to be Kobe, Duncan, KG, Dirk, Kidd, and some others before his name will be called. Also don’t forget that he was a BIG12 all first team and led Colorado to their first NCAA tournament win in over thirty years. He’s no question a HOF.

  8. clay says:

    First they need to induct Allen Iverson to the hall of fame then I don’t mind Chauncey getting in ducted I just believe air deserves it more

  9. Jeff says:

    OF COURSE HE DESERVES TO BE IN THE HALL OF FAME!!!!!!!!

  10. john says:

    I say send him! If he doesnt make it though i dont think it would be a total smack in the face!

  11. maleman says:

    no brainer here

  12. harriethehawk says:

    It would be nice, but he doesn’t seem eligible; at first glance.

  13. A.J. says:

    Hey, why not, they let everybody else in there. Without an actual NBA Hall of Fame to discuss, it’s a discussion that’s not even fit for discussion.

  14. TheKush says:

    DEBATE??? I hear people talking about inducting Robert Horry! who basically coasted his whole career and hit a few WIDE, OPEN SHOTS when Shaq, Kobe, Olajuwon and Tim Duncan were being double and triple teamed. The Detroit Pistons were a very good Team with Rasheed Wallace being the best player on the team however without Billups I don’t see Pistons being as dominant as they were.

    Billups earned his way into the H.O.F. There’s no debate in my mind especially with some of the names I’ve heard that want to be hall of famers like Tyronn Lue, Bobby Jackson and Robert Horry if those men respectively are in the HOF conversation Billups is in for sure!

    The NBA needs to take a better look at the MLB hall of fame because some of the names I’m hearing being inducted in the NBA hof are ridiculous!

  15. anonymous says:

    Yes, he should be inducted. How many finals mvps are not in the hof….

  16. Bartholomew says:

    I strongly believe that Charles should be inducted.