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  • Royce Webb

Cass Tech students make Hall of Fame case for Chauncey Billups

Chauncey Billups, the 2004 NBA Finals MVP for the Detroit Pistons and a five-time NBA All-Star, is highly qualified for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., according to research by the Cass Technical High School Sports Analytics Club in Detroit.

The Cass Tech students, participants in The Sports Analytics Club Program (SACP), analyzed Billups’ statistical profile from his 17-year NBA career and found that the five-time All-Star compared favorably to several other point guards already enshrined in Springfield.

Billups received his fourth nomination to the Hall of Fame on Dec. 22, 2020. In previous years, his candidacy was overshadowed by the nominations of Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and Ray Allen.

The predictive analytics research by the Cass Tech students reveals that Billups’ credentials should put him on track to be selected in 2021, when the Hall of Fame nominees include returning candidates Chris Bosh, Richard Hamilton, Ben Wallace and Chris Webber and first-year candidate Paul Pierce. Hamilton and Wallace were teammates of Billups on the Pistons’ 2004 NBA championship team.

The Cass Tech Sports Analytics Club conducted its research in 2020 in close collaboration with two data science professionals from Wayne State University: Carly Cirilli, Director, Business Intelligence and Data Analytics, and Minh Huy Ha, Lead Applications Technical Analyst. SACP professional sports data scientists Dan Rosenbaum, the Pistons’ Senior Director of Basketball Strategy, and Chris Pittenturf, the Pistons’ Senior Vice President for Analytics, provided guidance to the Cass Tech students.

“The SACP Board is confident the Naismith voters will be impressed and persuaded by the data-driven advanced performance metrics demonstrated by the Cass Tech Club,” said Robert L. Clayton, CEO of The Sports Analytics Clubs Program, Inc. “Every student deserves an opportunity to experience an exciting, complex and actionable learning environment.”

The Cass Tech Sports Analytics Club members are among those who track statistics for the school’s sports teams. In their work with SACP and the advisors from Wayne State and the Pistons, the students developed data science techniques and presented their work in support of Billups’ candidacy to the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.

In particular, the Cass Tech students found that Billups’ record of statistical accomplishments and NBA honors matched or exceeded those of Naismith Hall of Fame members Tiny Archibald, Earl Monroe, and Paul Westphal, among others at the guard position. Billups’ prowess as a 3-point shooter, his superior accuracy as a free-throw shooter and his spectacular postseason career are several of the attributes highlighted by the Cass Tech Sports Analytics Club.

Billups was named to three All-NBA teams, has the fifth-highest free-throw percentage in NBA history and ranks in the top 20 in 3-pointers made in both the regular season and the postseason. Billups made the playoffs in 12 seasons, played in 146 postseason games, and won the honor now known as the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in 2004 for the Pistons.

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