The question was put to Chauncey Billups after Detroit was beaten by 24 points on Sunday at MSG.

“Are the Knicks really as bad as their record indicates?”

“No, no, no,” he replied adamently.  “They’ve got some really good players over there.  Really good players.  For them, it’s just about finding the right mix.  They are as talented as anyone in the league -from 1 to 15.  But, talent [alone] don’t win too many games around here.  You’ve got to become a unit.  That’s what makes a great team.  

“When I got here [2002], Detroit already had what it took to be a great team; that’s the reason I came here.  I felt like I was one of the players who could continue what they had going on.  The year before, they had won 50 games.  They had the Coach of the Year in [Rick] Carlisle, Sixth Man of the Year in Corliss [Williamson], and Defensive Player of the Year in Ben [Wallace].  They were on the way up; personally, I was on my way up, too.  I thought it would be a perfect marriage.  As soon as I got here, man, I realized the culture in this locker room, and how Joe Dumars did it.  There’s a trickle-down effect.  I have believed that ever since.

[Note: Dumars would win Executive of the Year the following season]. 

“I don’t know what [the Knicks] have got going on over there.  So, I can’t speak for them.  But, they have talented players, and they’ve got a coach in Zeke, who has seen every battle, and every war.  They can learn from him.  That’s all I know.  I’m on the outside looking in.  I can’t speak for anything else, to be honest.”