Mr. Big Shot Will Be Calling the Shots for the Blazers Next Season
- The Portland Trail Blazers have named Chauncey Billups as their next head coach.
- Known as Mr. Big Shot, Billups helped the Detroit Pistons win the 2004 NBA title, winning Finals MVP honors in the process.
- Billups is currently an assistant coach for the L.A. Clippers under Tyron Lue.
Chauncey Billups’ name has floated in the NBA’s coaching rumor mill since last season.
Recently, the former Detroit Pistons star was linked to the coaching vacancies in Boston and Portland.
The best NBA betting sites had Billups as their odds on favorite to land the vacant Portland Trail Blazers head coaching job after Jason Kidd asked not to be included in the team’s coaching search. They were right.
Portland offered the job to Billups on Friday. Over the weekend, the Blazers and Billups reportedly agreed on a five-year deal with year five being a team option. The Trail Blazers confirmed the news on Monday morning, welcoming Billups via Twitter:
We have named Chauncey Billups as our head coach.
In Portland, Billups is tasked with maximizing Damian Lillard’s prime years by pushing the team to deeper playoff runs which his predecessor could not do. In eight playoff appearances, Terry Stotts led the Blazers out of the first round just thrice, and made the Conference Finals just one time.
Mr. Big Shot
Mr. Big Shot.
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) September 25, 2020
The 3rd overall pick of the 1997 draft out of the University of Colorado, Billups played in a total of 17 NBA seasons between 1997 and 2014. He spent time with the Detroit Pistons, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics, L.A. Clippers, Toronto Raptors, and New York Knicks.
He made five consecutive All-Star game appearances from 2006-2010 and was a member of the All-NBA second team in 2006 and the All-NBA third team in 2007 and 2009. In 2004, he led the Detroit Pistons to the NBA title, winning Finals MVP honors in the process.
Known as Mr. Big Shot during his playing days because of his knack to hit the big baskets for his team, Billups doesn’t have extensive coaching experience. In fact, his current stint as an assistant coach of Tyron Lue with the Clippers is his first ever coaching job in the NBA. However, his leadership as a player and his relationships with members of the Blazers organization cannot be denied.
Connection with GM Neil Olshey
Clippers GM Neil Olshey on Billups: “Chauncey Billups could probably coach or run this team right now if that was what he wanted to do.”
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) December 14, 2011
Portland GM Neil Olshey and Billups go back to 2011 when Olshey was the GM of the Clippers. He claimed Billups off the waivers after the Knicks amnestied Mr. Big Shot and had him for two season with the Clippers. Olshey has long considered Billups as one of the best leaders he’s ever met in the NBA. Back then, Olshey believed that Billups was ready to coach or run a team as a GM if he wanted to.
Billups also has a long-standing friendship with superstar guard Damian Lillard and the two have reportedly tackled frequently throughout the Blazers’ selection process. Billups was also considered for the other vacant coaching jobs in the league but the opportunity to coach a point guard like Lillard was said to be hard to pass up for Mr. Big Shot.
Lillard publicly called for the hiring of either Jason Kidd or Billups. Kidd was believed to be the frontrunner but he asked not to be considered for the position. He ended up returning to Dallas to replace Rick Calisle. With Kidd putting himself outside the equation, Billups became the next logical choice.