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.