Before tip-off of Game 2 of the NBA Finals in Miami, NBA Commissioner David Stern presented Los Angeles Clippers guard Chauncey Billups with the league's inaugural Twyman-Stokes award. According to the Clippers' facebook page,
The award 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.
Ok, I can sort of see it. He's a former finals MVP, and he's a great mentor to the younger guards on the roster. We know that Billups is very close with Chris Paul, and we know that young guard Eric Bledsoe learns from Billups as well as Paul every day. Chauncey's a class act and a hard worker and I have no doubt that he commands tons of respect from veterans and newcomers alike in the locker room. Commitment, dedication? Yeah, sure, I guess. I don't see any unusual displays of commitment or dedication from him but then again I have no gripes with him on either.
The main issue I have with this is the emphasis on his on-court leadership. Now, throughout his career, Chauncey has been a leader on the court for whatever team he's on. But this year I don't think it's fair to give him credit for that. I mean he only played in 22 of the Clippers 82 games, and if I remember correctly, he wasn't even on the bench for every game. Some road trips he stayed in LA to rehab, which is perfectly acceptable. I have no problem with him working on getting healthy. But he's hardly an on-court leader when he's not at the games.
Not to mention that even when he was on the court, he wasn't very good. He may have been a vocal leader but he didn't lead by example (or maybe he did, seeing how poorly other Clippers played as well when Chauncey returned in the playoffs).
All in all, it seems like a weird choice. But Billups will put it up on the mantle next to his Finals MVP. So congrats to Chauncey.