Chauncey Billups - Detroit Pistons
Most Valuable Player

Eastern Conference Player of the Month for January ... Led the league in assists per turnover (4.11) ... Ranked fourth in assists per game (8.6) and fifth in three pointers made (184) ... Averaged career highs in both points (18.5) and assists ... Set a career high for both three point percentage (.433) and three pointers made ... 2006 NBA All-Star ... The leader of a Detroit Pistons team which recorded the best record in the NBA at 64-18.

Our take:
If Steve Nash won the MVP award last year as the engine that powered the league's winningest team, conventional thinking leads you to believe Chauncey Billups should be taking home some hardware soon, too. What works against Billups, however, is that he plays alongside three other All-Stars (Hamilton and the Wallaces), but that shouldn't be a factor here. This season under Flip Saunders, Billups upped his assists average (8.6) by nearly three a night -- after posting a career-best 5.8 per game a year ago under Larry Brown, a coach who preached pass-first to his point guard. Even better, Billups, given the green light to score by Saunders, nudged his scoring average (18.5) to an all-time high while shooting a career-best .433 from beyond the arc. Most important to his team's success, though, has been his rock solid consistency and ball control, leading the league in assists-per-turnover (4.11) while leading his team to an NBA-best 64 wins.
-- Jeff Dengate

From the media:
I find funny now that everyone is talking about how wide open the MVP race is, and in the process, have totally forgotten about about Chauncey Billups. Exactly what has he done to lose his front-runner status that he held a month ago? The knock for him is that his team is so good. But it's not like Rip and Tayshaun or any of these guys are gonna average 30 for a series or anything. They are not Hall of Fame level players (maybe Ben but thats it). They play well because Chauncey solidifies them and for the team with the best record in the league, he's the Most Valuable Player. So CB should win the league MVP award.
-- SLAM Online

Billups isn't just the best player on the best team. He's the guard who's done more winning with his Pistons than Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars did with theirs.

Measured against the star power of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade, Billups remains the most deserving MVP candidate. Punish him for leading a talent-heavy team that broke the franchise record of 63 victories? That's a fool's logic. Nash was throwing the ball to Amare Stoudemire, Shawn Marion and Joe Johnson last year, and nobody held that against him.
-- USA Today

A fan's take:
Chauncey Billups is the Most Valuable Player in the league. What makes him valuable is that he knows how to win. He doesn't have to score 40 points/night, but he can if necessary. If another player is hot, he'll rack up the assists, because he's not going to take points away from his teamates just to "get his". He's had the most consistent season, and he has led his team to the league's best record. See you in the Finals!
-- Lou - Farmington Hills, Mich.

The Numbers:
81 36.1 18.5 3.1 8.6 0.88 0.10 .418 .433 .894

Most Valuable Player - The Candidates:
Chauncey Billups - Detroit Pistons
Elton Brand - Los Angeles Clippers
Kobe Bryant - Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James - Cleveland Cavaliers
Steve Nash - Phoenix Suns
Dirk Nowitzki - Dallas Mavericks
Dwyane Wade - Miami Heat

Others worth consideration: Carmelo Anthony, Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol, Shawn Marion

Most Improved Player
Rookie of the Year
Defensive Player of the Year
Sixth Man Award
Coach of the Year

D. Lippitt/Einstein/NBAE/Getty Images