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Billups wants Knicks to build team not collect stars

Jun 30, 2011, 8:44 AM EDT

Indiana Pacers v New York Knicks

The Knicks have two big stars now — Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire — and New York fans are dreaming of adding Chris Paul or Dwight Howard to that mix. New CBA, what new CBA? Those fans realize the road to the NBA finals out of the Eastern Conference goes through Miami and their three stars for the next few years.

Knicks point guard Chauncey Billups sees something different. He wants to see a team in New York. A real team. A deep team playing as a unit. A team that out executes its opponent. Like he was part of in Detroit in 2004. Like the Mavericks had this season. That’s what he told Chris Tomasson of Hoopshype.

“I think that in any situation you got to get a team,’’ Billups said in a wide-ranging interview at his basketball camp in suburban Denver. “It’s not about names, how many people on your team can make the All-Star Game. It’s not about that at all. It’s about putting the right pieces together. You got to have a cohesive unit. You got to have guys that know to play off of one another, guys that are going to be unselfish on both ends of the floor. Those are things that win championships, and we’ve seen that clear as day in the Finals.’’

“It’s not about that,’’ Billups said of collecting big names on a team. “We got two of the biggest names in basketball already (in Anthony and Stoudemire). It’s not about that. It’s about getting somebody that can play with the talent that you have… You look at the Mavericks, and they just share the basketball every time down the floor… Dirk is one of the best the game has ever seen. But he couldn’t do it by himself… So it’s all about the team….

“We need a lot,’’ said Billups, a five-time All-Star who averaged 16.8 points and 5.4 assists last season. “We got (six) free agents…. We need a lot of stuff. That’s why the front office gets paid the big bucks. It’s their job to do it. It’s our job to execute.’’

He’s got a point. Knicks fans — and their owner — may want that third star, but the new CBA likely will force them to choose another path. Potentially a wiser path, with guys that know how to work with their stars, fill in around their weaknesses. The Knicks need a team with depth that can beat you in multiple ways. A team that executes. The stars they have can certainly be a part of it, but that is just one piece of the puzzle.

Building a team is how they ultimately get by the Heat. Well, that and hope the Heat don’t learn those same lessons…

  1. ocgunslinger - Jun 30, 2011 at 9:29 AM

    I’ve heard of playing coaches. How about a playing GM?

  2. palakerfan - Jun 30, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    If Chauncey could stay healthy for the whole season, that would make a big difference. However, as long as D’Antoni’s the coach, you’ll never be better than a 45-50 win team out in the first 2 rounds of the playoffs. I don’t say that to trash talk, or in a negative way. I respect the history of the Knicks and hope you guys get a real coach, rather than Don Nelson 2.0.

  3. jizzojames - Jun 30, 2011 at 10:05 AM

    I hope the Knicks organization listens to the only champion on their roster. Chauncy Billups was the best person on that 2004 Detroit Pistons championship roster that beat the star studded Los Angeles Lakers at that time. If they create a team and not a collection of stars/players, and implement some defense in their system they could be a contender. I do agree with parting ways with D’Antoni. That “high powered offense” strategy has been proven a failure in Phoenix, with two time MVP Steve Nash as the point.

  4. ac0117 - Jun 30, 2011 at 10:33 AM

    Good call Chauncey

  5. jemgeejets - Jun 30, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    Dwight Howard would be ideal for the knicks!! Obvisouly the players around the big three would then drop as the cap space would be eaten up.

  6. v1ra - Jun 30, 2011 at 11:10 AM

    NBA is in a mess of its own making. They should be marketing TEAMS and TEAM identities, TEAM styles of play rather than individual stars and soap opera storylines. The lockout and the new CBA may diminish the over-reliance on stars to some degree in the future, but the NBA has been promoting on one foot for the last 30 years. In a lot of respects, they did okay. But the concept of team play has suffered notably. That’s why you see so many more people crowing that Lebron choked, rather than lauding the Mavericks on what they achieved as a team. Good to see Billups giving them some acknowledgement.

  7. theghostofwillisreed - Jun 30, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    the fact that he has an expiring contract and is staring at a veteran’s minimum deal after this year may have something to do with his words here. either way the knicks are going to need an upgrade at lead guard and chauncey knows he’s a goner.

    here’s hoping iman shumpert is the real deal. i think he can be.

  8. theduuuuuuuuuude - Jun 30, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    I think a lot of teams are looking at what the Mavs did this year compared to what the Heat did with their “Big 3”, and the simple realization is that basketball is ultimately a team sport, and the best way to win is to have a team that plays as a whole.

  9. diablito0402 - Jun 30, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    You guys tell this to all bandwaggon and sttuburn hardheaded heat fans.

  10. 00maltliquor - Jun 30, 2011 at 5:19 PM

    Doesn’t matter what he thinks, he’s not gonna be a part of that future anyways.

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