Denver Nuggets A to Z: Chauncey Billups

Point guard helped lead Nuggets to 2009 Western Conference finals
by Aaron Lopez

The King of Park Hill just needed a second chance with his hometown team.

And, boy, did Chauncey Billups ever make the most of it.

As part of a month-long tribute to some of the most popular players in franchise history, we are taking a look at the Denver Nuggets from A to Z.

With all due respect to Byron Beck, whose No. 40 hangs from the Pepsi Center rafters, Billups is the top choice to represent the Bs after his second stint in Denver resulted in a trip to the 2009 Western Conference finals.

Billups, who played 58 games with the Nuggets from 1999-2000, won an NBA title with the Detroit Pistons and was named the Finals MVP in 2004. Five years later, he brought his championship pedigree back to Denver when he was acquired from the Pistons in exchange for Allen Iverson on Nov. 3, 2008.

Serving as a leader in the locker room and on the court, Billups averaged 17.9 points and 6.4 assists as the Nuggets won 54 games to earn the No. 2 seed in the stacked Western Conference.

Billups stepped up his game in the playoffs, averaging 20.6 points and 6.8 assists to help the Nuggets advance out of the first round for the first time since 1994. Denver eliminated the New Orleans Hornets and Dallas Mavericks in five games each before falling to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.

Billups spent two more seasons as Denver’s captain before being sent to the New York Knicks as part of a three-team, 13-player trade on Feb. 22, 2011.

The path to NBA success was a winding one for Billups. After winning two state championships at George Washington High School and leading the University of Colorado to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, he was selected by the Boston Celtics third overall in the 1997 NBA Draft.

Billups was traded to Toronto less than four months into his rookie season and landed in Denver as a part a three-team trade with the Raptors and Minnesota Timberwolves on Jan. 21, 1999.

The homecoming started out well enough as Billups averaged 13.9 points 3.8 assists in 45 games of the lockout-shortened 1998-1999 season, but he suffered a shoulder injury 13 games into 1999-2000 and was traded to Orlando on Feb. 1, 2000.

Billups continued his journey when he signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves as a free agent in the summer of 2000. He blossomed as a key reserve with the T-Wolves and then found his stride when he joined the Pistons a free agent in 2002.

Game to Remember, Feb. 5, 2010

With leading scorer Carmelo Anthony sidelined by a sprained ankle, Billups picked up the slack against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center. Billups hit four 3-pointers in the first quarter and five more in the third quarter en route to a career-high 39 points. He finished 9-for-13 from beyond the arc and added eight assists as the Nuggets beat the Lakers 126-113.

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