Andre Miller-Chauncey Billups Comparison

» November 5, 2008 11:59 AM | By Brandon Hoffman

Yesterday, I bumbled my way though a breakdown of the Allen Iverson for Chauncey Billups and Andre Miller trade (yes, I know Cheikh Samb was included in the deal). Among the points I made was a comparison between Andre Miller and Chauncey Billups. I think Miller and Billups are very similar. The only real difference being Billups’ long-distance shooting.

BallerBlogger contributing writer xphoenix87 disagrees with my comparison.

xphoenix87’s comment:

“In no way is Andre Miller remotely comparable to Chauncey Billups. Even last year, in arguably the best year of his career, Miller’s production wasn’t close to that of Billups. Even if we don’t take defense into account (where Billups wins hands-down), they aren’t even close. Billups had a higher usage rate, a much higher offensive efficiency, a higher assist percentage, a lower turnover rate, got to the free throw line more, and shot the ball much, much better. That’s comparing a career year for Miller to what Billups has been doing consistently for the last 4 years. Billups is clearly a better player.”

I agree that Billups is the better player. But I still think the comparison is valid. And I’m not alone.

Travis Heath of HOOPSWORLD:

Somewhere Andre Miller was smiling on Monday afternoon when the Nuggets announced they had traded Allen Iverson to the Detroit Pistons for Chauncey Billups.  Heading into the 2006-07 season, Miller was the perfect scapegoat.  Fans cried for more scoring.  In December of 2006, the fans got more scoring in the form of Iverson.

Now, less than two months later, the Nuggets pulled the plug on the Iverson experiment.  Of course, the irony is the Nuggets ended up trading Iverson for a player remarkably similar to Miller.

When asked about the similarities between Miller and Billups, Denver head coach George Karl told HOOPSWORLD: “Andre is a great comparison.  I just know when I came here that Andre was such a security blanket because he took responsibility on a lot of possessions.”

“I think after we got rid of Andre Miller, we’ve been looking for that leader, that point guard.  I like Chuck off the ball rather than with the ball,” Carmelo Anthony said in reference to Iverson, who his teammates and friends refer to as Chuck.  “I like him creating, slashing to the basket.  I think Chauncey brings a different role to the team, being that leader, being that point guard who can distribute to guys and make guys better.  Getting the ball where people need the ball such as myself, knowing my spots.”

Sometimes the grass isn’t always greener. as the trade of Miller for Iverson demonstrated.

I’m not saying that Miller and Billups are identical. Billups is a slightly better defender than Miller was/is. Chauncey is also a much better shooter from three-point range. But Billups is going to bring many of the same intangibles that Miller provided for the Nuggets. He’s going to lead the team from the point guard spot and get the ball to Anthony and JR Smith in scoring position. In trading for a player like Billups, the Nuggets have essentially admitted that trading Miller for Iverson was a mistake. Denver can attempt to spin Iverson’s time in Denver any way they’d like, but Iverson failed to add significantly to Denver’s regular season win total or help them advance past the first round of the playoffs.

7 Responses to “Andre Miller-Chauncey Billups Comparison”

  1. Brandon Hoffman Says:

    Me: 2

    xphoenix87: 1


  2. xphoenix87 Says:

    If I simply said what everyone else says, I wouldn’t be much good, now would I?

    I maintain that the comparison is extremely flawed. That’s probably because I set much less stock in “intangibles” than most people. Miller and Billups are both “leaders” and “security blankets”, which basically just means they’re both veteran point guards. Is Billups closer to Miller than Iverson? Yeah, but basically any point guard would be. I still say Billups is miles better than Miller as a player, and that their playing styles really aren’t that similar.

    Even if we can’t agree that Miller is primarily an up-tempo point guard, we can certainly agree that Chauncey Billups is not. Over the last 6 years in Detroit, here’s where the Billups-lead Pistons have ranked in pace of play: 30th, 30th, 29th, 29th, 24th, 29th. Now that’s a half-court point guard.

    As we’ve already discussed, Billups is a far better shooter. As such, a much higher percentage of his offense come from the perimeter. 81% of Billups’ shots were jumpshots last year, against only 68% for Miller. Also, despite the fact that Miller takes more shots around the basket, Billups gets to the line at a much higher rate, taking 1 free throw for every 2 field goal attempts. For Miller, that ratio is 1:3.5 (and lets not forget that Billups shot the second-highest free throw percentage in the league last year).

    Miller is a point guard who thrives in transition, Billups is not. Billups is a brutally efficient scorer, Miller is not. Billups is a good shooter, Miller is not. Miller is a more traditional drive-and-kick point guard, Billups is not. I’m not even talking about the fact that Billups is a much, much more productive player by basically any measure you want to use, even their basic styles of play are completely different.

    Other than the fact that they are both point guards and they both have good post-up games for a guard, I see very little similarity. As I said before, Miller is a poor man’s Jason Kidd. Billups is, for lack of a better comparison, a rich man’s Derek Fisher.

  3. Brandon Hoffman Says:

    I’m just giving you a hard time. You made a very solid argument.

    I definitely agree that Billups is a half-court point guard.

  4. ShooterB Says:

    You guys have a great discussion going. Definitely some different issues to think about.

    I can’t add much to that…other than to say I don’t think Iverson brings a whole lot to a championship team. We all know he can score, primarily by creating his own shot. And for the most part, he performed very well in Denver. But they were very much an unbalanced team focused on isolation scoring, as I think one of you mentioned.

    I think of the early days of Kobe Bryant’s career, when he didn’t fit into the flow of the offense. He eventually adapted, but I’ve seen no indication that Iverson could ever do the same.

    But being added to a top Eastern conference team, the experiment has possibilities. But overall, I think their championship hopes are roughly the same as they would have been with Billups.

    But rather than bash Iverson, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt until he proves otherwise. This will be the best supporting cast he’s ever played with. Wait and see.

  5. Brandon Hoffman Says:


    I agree. The Pistons are the most well-balanced team Iverson has ever played with. But I’m not convinced that that’s what it takes to succeed with AI.

    Philly’s Finals team was comprised of players who were willing to do the dirty work and turn a blind eye towards Iverson’s shot selection and practice habits. Iverson didn’t have to share the ball or attempt to make his teammates better for them to win games.

    He’s going to have to facilitate in Detroit. He needed to facilitate in Denver. He piled a fair amount of assists with the Nuggets, but he looked for his shot first. We’ll see if that changes in Detroit.

  6. A-Train Says:

    “Other than the fact that they are both point guards and they both have good post-up games for a guard, I see very little similarity. As I said before, Miller is a poor man’s Jason Kidd. Billups is, for lack of a better comparison, a rich man’s Derek Fisher.”

    I’d agree with that.

    I think you guys are disagreeing because you’re looking at things from different levels. Hoff is looking at Miller being the same kind of player as Billups in terms of role and impact, where as X is breaking them down by skill set, tendencies, etc.

    I think you’re both right in your own regards.

    Personally, I think Billups is very overrated. Much like how I think Nash is the beneficiary of a system that highlights his strengths and hides his weaknesses, I feel the same way about Billups in Detroit’s sluggish system.

    Perimeter shooting is the only offensive area in which Billups is better. I think the fact Miller can run it or slow it down makes him more valuable in my eyes. Both are clutch too. Both are solid “team defenders.” I think Miller is a bit better one-on-one.

  7. Brandon Hoffman Says:

    I think Miller is comparable to Billups in terms of the role he played with the Nuggets and because of his skill set.

    Billups is a better shooter. But I think there about even as passers.

    I agree that Miller is better in the open court, but I still think he’s more of a half-court PG.

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