The progress may be incremental, but veteran guard Chauncey Billups is getting closer to a full-time return to the court.

Less than eight months removed from surgery to repair a torn left Achilles tendon, Billups, who is entering his 16th NBA season, is participating in non-contact drills and 5-on-0 sets with the offense.

DeAndre Jordan’s presence is undeniable.

It is evident when he spins off the rim after an alley-oop; the ones where he catches the ball with two hands, more than 4-feet above the rim before throwing it down; evident in the way he treats most blocked shots like a volleyball spike; and equally evident in the way the fifth-year center carries himself.

He’s vivacious, enthusiastic, and genuinely well-liked.