Nuggets hope Billups can provide cure for their recent playoff woes

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We know that no one wants to face the Cavaliers in Cleveland and the bottom teams in the Western Conference are fighting tooth and nail to avoid the Lakers in the first round. But how about a team no one is that interested in playing anywhere?

How about the Denver Nuggets?

As the NBA prepares to enter its second season, there will be a premium placed on players who "know how to win." And over the last several years, few players have been more worthy of that title than Chauncey Billups, a six-time conference finalist, two-time NBA finalist and one-time NBA champion in Detroit.

"Chauncey wins games because of his nature, his fundamental makeup," Nuggets coach George Karl said recently of the 2004 Finals MVP. "He wins games because he understands team and possessions and the value of [playing] together, probably more than most. And then he still has that window of skills that's at a pretty high level. I think too many times over the last couple of years we've won games because of talent and skills rather than the fundamental nature of the game. You win at the end of games with your fundamental nature as much as you do with your talent."

In years past, many teams would prefer a first-round matchup with Denver. They figured the Nuggets' selfish attitude would cost them. And it has. But with Billups on board, the Nuggets are a dangerous dark horse in the West.

I'm going to try my best to lead the guys, kind of show them the way," Billups told the Denver Post. "I think we've got some great talent and some guys [who] want to win. It's just a matter of going out and doing it every single night."

(All stats and records are through Sunday.)

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Got a different view than Chris?