Andre Drummond gives up his uniform number in deference to Chauncey Billups

Ball Don't Lie

Chauncey Billups is one of the most respected players of his generation, a five-time All-Star and 2004 NBA Finals MVP, and a celebrated player in Detroit Pistons lore. He also prefers to wear the No. 1 on his uniform, if at all possible; but as an ardent follower of his career, that number doesn’t immediately spring to mind when I think of CB. Certainly not in a way that shouts out, “hey, Chauncey Billups might not be able to wear his favorite number in Detroit this year, because Andre Drummond already has it!”

I wouldn’t shout that, also, because in spite of my growing fandom for Drummond and my observation of his fine Summer League work in that number, I had to be reminded that Drummond wears No. 1. Or, used to wear it.

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With Billups returning to Detroit to round out his career, Drummond has made the choice to give up the number, as evidenced by his Twitter account on Tuesday:

Billups, while being introduced by the Pistons on Tuesday, had this to say about Drummond’s move at his press conference:

Andre Drummond is being counted on as a big part of the Detroit Pistons’ future, so for him to step aside in favor of a player who will turn 37 prior to the season is a very cool move. These numbers, even for just a second year guy like Drummond, mean a lot to players; and for Dre to do this without being asked to speaks volumes.

With that in place … it’s not like Chauncey is Mr. Piston. Or that his number immediately springs to mind.

After all, he’s worn No. 4 (Boston, Denver, Minnesota, New York), No. 3 (Toronto), and No. 7 (Denver, during another stop) in his NBA career. An injured Billups was dealt to the Orlando Magic in 1999 as a cost-cutting move, and he wouldn’t have been able to wear No. 1 on that team either, because the long-forgotten Kiwane Garris already was wearing the digit. The guy has been on eight different NBA teams. Ten, if you count his second stops in both Denver and Detroit.

The Detroit blue and red is Billups’ most noted color scheme, though, and he wore this particular number while working for the Pistons from 2002 to 2008, so at the very least there’s some consistency here. Perhaps, as reward, Billups (an 89.4 percent career free throw shooter) can give Drummond some charity stripe tutorials, as Andre missed nearly two-thirds of his attempts from the line in his rookie season.

The young man hit the mark on this one, though.

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