Off to a 2-0 start with a promising young core, the Pistons are well set-up for the future. They haven’t been relevant in some time, so it’s easy to forget how dominant they were in the mid-2000s, making the Eastern Conference Finals six straight years from 2003 to 2008 and winning the 2004 title, plus another Finals appearance in 2005. Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reports that they’re going to honor two of the most important players on the 2004 title team with number retirements this season: Chauncey Billups and Ben Wallace.
Interestingly, both of their numbers are being worn on this year’s Pistons roster. Reggie Jackson, who just signed a five-year deal over the summer, wears Billups’ No. 1, while No. 8 overall pick Stanley Johnson wears Wallace’s No. 3. A similar thing happened in Detroit in 2011, when the Pistons retired Dennis Rodman’s No. 10 while Greg Monroe was on the roster wearing it. Monroe was allowed to keep the number, but now that he’s no longer in town, nobody else will be allowed to wear it. That’s probably how they’ll handle these two cases as well.
These will be the ninth and 10th retired numbers for the Pistons, joining Rodman, Chuck Daly (2), Joe Dumars (4), Isiah Thomas (11), Vinnie Johnson (15), Bob Lanier (16), Dave Bing (21) and Bill Laimbeer (40). They’ll be the first members of the 2004 team to receive the honor, and probably not the last — it’s not hard to see Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace also being retired in the future.