Billups calls Griffin ‘too nice’

Well, Chauncey Billups’ reign as the NBA’s undisputed best
teammate sure didn’t last long.

Less than 24 hours after winning the first-ever Twyman Stokes
Teammate of the Year Award, Chauncey appeared on ESPN’s First Take
and offered some not-so-selfless comments about his Clippers
teammate Blake Griffin. Billups did refute the notion that Blake
Griffin is “soft,” but qualified this statement by saying that
Griffin is “maybe too nice of a guy.”

The Twyman-Stokes Award, according to the league’s press
release, “recognizes the NBA player deemed the best teammate based
on selfless play, on and off-court leadership as a mentor and role
model to other NBA players, and his commitment and dedication to
his team.”

Billups went on to say, “there’s been times in games where
people take shots at Blake. And I tell him if that’s me, you’re
going to have to take this two- or three-game suspension, and I’m
going to punish somebody.” Now, Billups isn’t explicitly putting
Griffin on blast (he did at least deny the statement that Blake is
“soft” and later praised the star’s work ethic), but these
statements definitely do not sound like ringing endorsements of the
young power forward’s attitude towards his more-physical
opponents.

Billups has played with some famously tough big men, as he spent
time with Kevin Garnett in Minnesota, Ben and Rasheed Wallace in
Detroit, and later Kenyon Martin in Denver, but when did Chauncey
ever “take this two- or three-game suspension,” like he thinks that
Blake should? Much like Griffin is now, Billups has always been too
important to his teams to
pull a Chris Childs and punch somebody in the
face. Sure, the Clippers are a very good team, but if Griffin goes
and gets himself suspended for a few outings, an extra loss or two
might be the difference between home-court advantage in the first
round of the playoffs. The most mature and respectable thing to do
after a hard foul, which Blake has certainly improved on over the
course of his career, is to get up, hit your free throws, and move
on to the next play without complaint.

Billups has an incredible reputation around the league as a
leader as well as a former NBA Champion, but these comments about
Blake Griffin seem a little unfair. “Mr. Big Shot,” who is entering
free agency, also made news this weekend by
saying that he would be “wide open” to playing for
the Miami Heat next season
.

All of these statements seem a little strange coming from
somebody who was JUST named the NBA’s Teammate of the Year, but it
will be interesting to see how Griffin reacts. If the Clippers star
enters next season with a new mean-streak, maybe we will look back
and point to Billups’ words as motivation. If not, however, we
might need a re-count on this Twyman-Stokes Award.