HoopsHype.com Interviews

Chauncey Billups: "I don't play for stats, I play for wins"
by Marc Narducci / April 27, 2005

You are among the best players who have never been named All-Star. Does that bother you?

Chauncey Billups: This is not the time of the year for me to be worrying about that. It's playoff time right now and I'm trying to get wins for my team. I just play for my guys. I don't play for the stats. I play for wins and I'm good with it.

Does having gone through a playoff run and won a championship help this year?

CB: That's something that never gets thrown out. You win a championship with these guys, that experience carries you. You get in these tough games and tough situations and we have all been there together. We're in the foxhole together and fighting in and out of that foxhole together so that never gets thrown out.

The Pistons are defending champions. Do you think you intimidate opponents with your recent success?

CB: Teams think they can beat us. I would if I was on the other team. I don't know if we intimidate anybody. We have to prove it, but we're not even favored to win it all this year.

Do you like being the so-called playoff underdog ?

CB: I would rather not be the favorite. I am glad it is like that. I don't understand it, but I'm glad it is that way. No matter what, after winning the championship, we knew we weren't going to sneak up on anybody.

You're matched up against Allen Iverson. What type of approach does a team have to take in trying to stop him?

CB: You just have to defend, change defenses. He is one of the greats of all time and one of the better scorers who ever played. You won't shut him down. He'll score a lot of points. We have to contain him and change defenses. The other thing is that we have to make him play defense more so I have to be aggressive offensively.

How much does guarding Allen Iverson take out of you?

CB: We play so many different guys on him that nobody wears all the way down. If I had to chase him the whole game or Rip Hamilton had to chase him the whole game, it would probably have an affect by the fourth quarter.
That's why we're able to stay fresh, because we throw so many different guys on him. Fortunately we have a deep enough team where we have the luxury of doing that.

Coach Larry Brown has been known to be tough on his point guards. What has it been like playing for him?

CB: It's been great. There have been a few up and downs. I have gotten a lot better because of him. I'm really grateful to have him here coaching me and walking me through some of these situations and I'm just happy Joe (Dumars) brought him here. It has made a huge difference in my career.

What's it like to be on a team where nobody cares about statistics?

CB: I have never been around it. It's really a one-of-a-kind experience. Nobody cares who gets the recognition. People just want to win and that is the bottom line. We believe in one another and trust one another and I know
if I don't have the shot, the next man will have it and he will shoot about the same percentage as I will and it doesn't matter who shoots it as long it's a good look and wide open, it's all we care about.

You arguably have the deepest starting lineup in the NBA. How difficult is it to defend the Pistons?

CB: Everybody feels like they have a mismatch. When a double-team comes, you have to kick it out whether you have a mismatch or not. When the double team comes, now we're going to find the open player. We have a very unselfish mentality.

Talk about the character of this team.

CB: We hold each other accountable. We know if we go out there and lose it's because of us. Nobody wants to be that guy, or wonder if we were a little more ready here, so we stay sharp. We worry about everybody being on top of their game. We hold everybody accountable. If someday isn't getting it done we let them know that. That is one thing about being a professional.

How often do you have to hold players accountable?

CB: Not very often. We have a lot of professional guys who were in tough situations and were given up on, and have come here and really fit in.

You're from Denver. Do you still root for Denver teams?

CB: I'm a Denver fan. I'm a huge Broncos fans. That is my team before anything. I'm happy to see the Nuggets do well, but I am more worried about my team. We have a tough task ahead of us.

Marc Narducci covers the NBA for the Philadelphia Inquirer and is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com

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