The value of Chauncey Billups beyond the good possibility that he is in the Detroit Pistons' starting lineup for next week's opener was evidenced last week in clearing up some things for struggling rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Billups might win the starting shooting-guard job that Caldwell-Pope eventually hopes to occupy -- that is if Billups isn't starting at point guard instead -- but his long-term value in his second and final go-round with the Pistons is in mentoring young guards.

That initially was expected to be Brandon Knight before he was traded for Brandon Jennings.

Now it's primarily Caldwell-Pope who has shot 25.5 percent from the floor (14 of 55) including 19 percent on 3-pointers (4 of 21) through five preseason games.

So Billups sat in on a video session that focused exclusively on Caldwell-Pope's minutes and shot selection.

His evaluation?

"Good shooters take good shots" Billups said. "You've got certain shots that you can make. Sometimes he's rushing things trying to get on that scoreboard so fast just rookie stuff. Like I told him 'You've proven that you won't lose your confidence but you're also proving that you're young though.' Sometimes you've got to catch it put it on the deck get to the free-throw line do other things."

Billups 37 returned to the Pistons as a free agent this year with the dual purposes of contributing as a player and finishing his career where he won a championship and was 2004 NBA Finals MVP.

He'll always be "Mr. Big Shot" but his intent as a teammate isn't to be a big shot.

"I'm not here to be the star" he said recently. "I've had my time."

The Pistons (2-3) play the last of four consecutive preseason road games tonight at Orlando (1-4).

They open their season Oct. 30 here against the Washington Wizards and with the Pistons thin in the backcourt because of injuries to Jennings and Rodney Stuckey there's a strong possibility that Caldwell-Pope is called upon to play extensively early in the season.

The Georgia rookie has impressed with his defense and athleticism prompting Billups to call him a "Tony Allen Bruce Bowen type" a favorable comparison to two recent NBA backcourt defensive whizzes.