by Craig Kwasniewski
Okay this may be blasphemous to any Knick fan older than 40, but is Chauncey Billups the modern day Walt "Clyde" Frazier?
Growing up, I remember my dad always telling me how cool Clyde Frazier was. He told me the guy was a good defender, a good team leader and a great clutch player. His best games were in the Finals. Remind you of anyone?
Clyde was a 6-4, 200 pound point guard for two time NBA Champion New York Knicks. Chauncey is a 6-3, 202 point guard for a potential 2 time NBA Champion Detroit Pistons. Frazier's Knicks are famous for their teamwork and defensive play with all five starters working as one with no real superstar/dominant player. Their first title came in 1970 against the Los Angeles Lakers, led by the dominant Wilt Chamberlain. Clyde's best game of his career came in a Game 7 clinching win with 36 points, 19 assists and five steals. (Unfortunately overshadowed by Willis Reed hobbling dramatically onto the court from injury)
Billups heads up a Piston team defined over the past three seasons by their defense and teamwork. All five starters work in unison, with no true superstar/dominant force on their team. Their first title came in 2004 against the Lakers, led by the dominant Shaquille O'Neal. Chauncey won the Finals MVP trophy, destroying Gary Payton in the process.
Now Chauncey doesn't have the off court style that Clyde had. No one else in the history of the NBA will capture the pimp look in the pimpin' golden era of the early 70's like Clyde. But Chauncey has the same demeanor on court. The guy is a level-headed assassin. He never looks pressured, and when necessary, he takes over for the clutch play.
Now the career stats don't truly match up (Walt Frazier vs. Chauncey Billups). Billups really came into his own over the past 4 seasons whereas Frazier was an All-Star his 3rd season, but the on-court style and leadership is the same.
Am I barking up the wrong tree here? What do you think?