Give the Ball to Mr. Big Shot

Sports with an Ice Cold Bru
By Dave Bruning

The future of the Denver Nuggets is literally a jump ball. They are a team without a rudder. The Nuggets just fired their second coach in 3 years and have missed the playoffs the last 2 years. The Nuggets need a take charge point guard. The Nuggets need Mr. Big Shot, Chauncey Billups.
Billups cannot lead Denver on the court as a player. Where Billups can lead Denver is as either the head coach or the general manager. I believe his desire is to be the GM, but he will have to start as the head coach. I don’t think Josh Kroenke would give up his GM role. However, the Kroenke sporting empire is clearly focused on the impending move of the St. Louis Rams back to Los Angeles, and not the future of the Denver Nuggets. Hire Billups immediately!!
No athlete embodies the Denver community more than Chauncey Billups, not even John Elway. Billups played his high school basketball at George Washington, his college ball at the University of Colorado and had 2 stints as a member of the Denver Nuggets. He is the glue that binds Denver sports. This doesn’t even address his tremendous commitment to Denver off the court.
I have always thought Billups would be a good coach or GM. This thought really smacked me in the head recently as I listened to him analyze the NBA playoffs on ESPN. The man understands basketball. More importantly, he can explain basketball to young players.
The latter point is huge in today’s NBA. Precocious players enter the NBA having never experienced hardship. They are spoon-fed and babied through their high school and college playing days. The NBA is where the big boys play. Nobody knows this better than Billups. He was the 3rd overall draft pick in the 1997 NBA draft. Instant success did not come his way. He bounced around the league and was largely considered a draft bust before settling with the Detroit Pistons.
He came into his own as a player with Detroit. He won an NBA title and along the way earned the nickname “Mr. Big Shot” for his reputation of hitting big shots at the end of games. He returned to Denver in a trade for Allen Iverson. Along with Carmelo Anthony, Billups led the Nuggets to the Western Conference finals. His leadership skills and toughness are recognized in NBA circles even in retirement.
These skills would serve him well as head coach. He knows the sacrifices, hard work and dedication it takes to be a successful NBA player. He would have the respect of his players, and is young enough to relate to them as well. Numerous former players are finding quick success as head coaches: Steve Kerr with Golden State and Jason Kidd with Milwaukee are two examples.
I think Billups has the moxie to follow both Kerr and Kidd to an NBA head coaching position. The Denver Nuggets are the natural fit and they are shopping for a head coach. The Nuggets roster clearly has talent. It is also pretty clear they will shake up the roster in the offseason. Point guard Ty Lawson and forward Kenneth Faried will draw interest around the league. The Nuggets have a high draft pick, with an outside chance of winning the lottery. There is talent and trade flexibility for Billups and the Nuggets to work with.
It promises to be an interesting summer for the Denver Nuggets. Winning the aforementioned jump ball starts with hiring Chauncey Billups. If the Nuggets are going to take a shot, their best shot is clearly Mr. Big Shot.

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