Moving to shooting guard to play alongside Chris Paul and feed lobs to Blake Griffin, Billups has contributed veteran leadership to a team on the rise in the Western Conference. But the five-time All-Star and 2004 NBA Finals MVP must now fill that role in street clothes on the bench.
Billups tore his left Achilles tendon during the team’s win at Orlando on Monday night, ending his season and sparking discussion about whether his career could be finished.
Billups, who was averaging 15 points and four assists per game, is playing for his seventh team and fourth in the last five seasons.
“I will be back,” Billups told Yahoo! Sports. “I’m not done. I’m not retiring. I will definitely be back. This has been the story of my career, coming back, fighting, scrapping and I will play again.”
But how much does “Mr. Big Shot” have left after 14 years in the league? His minutes have declined in each of the last four seasons and his shooting percentage this season (.364) is his lowest since 1999-2000.
As the Detroit Free Press — the home paper for Billups during his six-plus seasons with the Pistons — points out, a 33-year-old Isiah Thomas saw his career end in 1994 after he tore his Achilles. The recovery period for such an injury generally lasts at least eight months, and Billups is on a one-year contract with the Clippers.
“No sir. There is no way I’m going to crawl out of the league,” Billups told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday. “I’m going to be back. Trust me.”
Do you trust him?
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