Chauncey Billups, here with Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars during a press conference this summer, has impressed coach Maurice Cheeks in training camp. (Clarence Tabb, Jr. / Detroit News)
Auburn Hills — It was a simple game of around the world, but Chauncey Billups wanted everyone to know he was about to close it out and beat about a half dozen teammates.
Before taking his winning shots, Billups chirped at Charlie Villanueva, who was stuck in first position.
“How are things over there Charlie?” Billups asked.
Billups then hit three 3-pointers to close out the match.
“He has shown in practice that he can still play,” coach Maurice Cheeks said. “His knowledge surpassed everything. ... We have a valuable asset in Chauncey.”
He may have slowed down with age — he turned 37 last month — but Billups has the same thing in mind he had when he began his career: He wants to start and contribute to the Pistons.
“I feel like if that changes, it is time for me to shut it down,” Billups said. “I am always going to be competitive. I am always going to believe in what I can do and what I can do for a team. Obviously I am not in my prime anymore, but the things I can do not a lot of people can do it that well.”
An assortment of injuries limited Billups to 42 games the past two seasons with the Clippers.
Still, he wants to be the lead guard, though he has stiff competition from Brandon Jennings, who is the future of the Pistons. There is, however, a chance Billups could start alongside Jennings.
“Really the only reason I am still playing and the reason I can still help a team is because I am two or three steps ahead of some people,” Billups said. “I have been around so long and seen so much. I am still a student of the game. The physical part of the game you are going to slow down. The main moves you are not going to be able to get off easy points so you have to be smart.”
Forward Greg Monroe (hamstring) sat out Monday’s practice and Cheeks won’t know if Monroe will play in tonight’s exhibition against Maccabi Haifa. He’s played with tightness in the hamstring much of training camp.