When I think Billups I think a Derek Harper 2.0. For those who remember Harp, he was a big, physical, non-traditional point guard who could stretch the defense in the half court with his shooting. Billups is a better shooter, and a less effective defender but the game is different today in terms of no longer being able to hand check. People talk about Billups' lack of dishing, but Harper averaged 5.5 assists for his career and never averaged more than 5.7 during his Knicks tenure. Billups can pass to himself for all I care as he's shooting 44% from deep this year and is 40% for his career. No one blamed Harper for the team's loss in Game 7 and his lack of play making ability didn't keep them from 3 years of relative playoff success. Again, the game is different in so many ways, but to me the constant is the necessity to make shots in half court situations in the fourth quarter.
Truth be told Harp should (would?) have been Finals MVP if the Knicks could have won game 7 in Houston.
Harp was 32 when he came to NY, while Billups just turned 34.
As you look closer at Billups you see a guy who can play in the pick and roll but he rarely gets below the foul line, something we've talked about being essential for Raymond Felton. Why is it more essential for Felton than Billups? Billups can certainly get to the foul line in the pick and roll, but can also get away without it because he can shoot over players, and shoot period, more consistently. If Felton isn't getting to the mid-paint then he's far from being most effective in setting up his teammates.
Another critical point about Billups is the fact that he doesn't get shook when players are running at him contesting his shot. The Knicks young players, particularly Gallinari and Chandler, struggle with aggressive closeouts. This was on full display against the heat and Magic in Florida several weeks back. That speed is what the playoffs are all about and there's no substitute for experience when it comes to knocking down key contested shots that spread the defense out in the half court down the stretch. Billups is a master of that craft.
So to sum up, Billups can pick and roll, hit big shots, and is playoff tested. He also can play at a fast pace, albeit for less minutes. These qualities, to me, make him an upgrade over Felton and give the Knicks a much better chance to compete in the playoffs.