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Will the Pistons reduce Richard Hamilton’s and Tayshaun Prince’s roles?

The Pistons might not be far from changing their lineup, and I don’t mean the vague plan of shortening the rotation John Kuester frequently offers.

No, I mean the large, thought-to-be-forbidden changes many Pistons fans have requested – reducing Richard Hamilton’s and Tayshaun Prince’s minutes, or maybe, even removing them from the starting lineup.

What gives me this crazy idea? Vince Ellis’ Detroit Free Press article today about the aftermath of the Pistons’ loss to the Raptors on Saturday:

But make no mistake, Pistons officials are still smarting from the loss, and there could be fallout if things don’t improve soon for the 7-18 team that many in the front office think is good enough to challenge for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Usually, I’d take that to mean a trade. But with the Pistons’ ownership situation, that’s unlikely. So, I’m going to read between Ellis’ lines – and I want it to be clear I’m only guessing here.

I think this paragraph from Ellis – who’s probably the most connected beat writer covering from the team – means Joe Dumars will give the OK to reduce the roles of Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince, possibly as far as removing one or both of them from the starting lineup, if the Pistons keep losing.

Hamilton and Prince, especially Hamilton, haven’t done much to help the Pistons win this year. But I get why they’re playing. They’re known quantities. Their track record says teams can win with them. The Pistons rightly aren’t giving up on them after 25 games.

But what about 40?

The Pistons are just four games out of the playoffs with 57 left. They’re certainly in contention for now.

But if they keep slipping out of the playoff race? Then I think they’ll make a change. I don’t expect it tonight, and I don’t expect it within a week, but maybe by month’s end.

As I’ve said before, politics plays a key part in John Kuester’s decision to start Hamilton and Prince. But continued losing, especially in such embarrassing fashion, will give the coach ammo for a change.

When Hamilton and Allen Iverson were fighting for the starting shooting guard spot, Hamilton said he was fine coming off the bench – as long as the Pistons won. They didn’t, and he demanded he start again.

What case will Hamilton and Prince have for starting if the season keeps spiraling out of control? Who will they be to whine if their minutes fall at the expense of Austin Daye and Ben Gordon?

Hamilton and Prince have earned the benefit of the doubt, but at a certain point, there might not be any doubt left.

12 Comments

  • Dec 14, 20105:44 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    er, what on earth is there to complain about with tayshaun prince? he’s been one of the best pistons and one of the two unanimous starters (as far as being the absolute best option at their respective positions). with all due respect, feldman, reducing tayshaun’s role makes no sense on any level. no matter how topsy-turvy this team’s gotten, if tayshaun gets taken out of the starting lineup before charlie v or ben gordon gets inserted, i’ll eat my shoe. both shoes. and this team’s been so slow to make even minor adjustments that you’ve taken a heck of a leap. i mean, kuester’s idea of shaking things up is trading off between daye and max at PF and daye and will in the rotation. not exactly earth-shattering stuff. i expect more “tweaks” before we see a major change in how the team uses a player who’s been nothing but productive so far.

  • Dec 14, 20105:45 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    on a related note, if jason maxiell starts tonight’s game i’m going to shoot my television.

  • [...] says: I think this paragraph from Ellis – who’s probably the most connected beat writer covering [...]

  • Dec 14, 20105:59 pm
    by Jacob

    Reply

    I like Laser’s last point……Max has got to go back to the bench…..its like when he doesn’t play for a while he gets a fire lit under him and does fine when given the next opportunity…..then after he becomes a regular starter he gets content to being mediocre at best again……I don’t know just conjecturing

  • Dec 14, 20106:15 pm
    by nuetes

    Reply

    whoa whoa first explain to me the logic of these proposed moves. i’m serious. what’s the logic behind it? is it because the season is lost and we’re benching them to rot for the rest of eternity? or is it because through some insane reasoning the thought of benching them would make us a better team?
     
    if it’s the latter then people need a reality check. gordon and daye are not any better than rip and prince. in fact odds are we would be even worse, which means the only logic acceptable is that the season is lost and rip and prince are being sent to the cellar to live out their days while the team tanks even further. i guess i just don’t understand any of this. it’s one thing to trade them, but to just remove either from the lineup makes absolutely no sense to me. because it seems like someone is assuming one of them is the problem, and maybe they are, but there isn’t a solution. gordon is not a solution. he’s just as bad as rip. daye isn’t a solution, he’s too inexperienced. unless this fixes the front court there isn’t much that’s going to change by benching either rip or prince.

  • Dec 14, 20106:40 pm
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    Laser, nuetes,

    Prince hasn’t been great. His defense has been lackluster. His passing and rebounding aren’t near what they used to be. He’s gotten his scoring average up, but his shooting percentage is down.

    I’m not saying I expect this as a short-term move. I expect more tweaks before you see something this distract.

    Prince OK, but I’m not convinced he’ll be better than Daye in a month.

    Players like Gordon and Daye are hungry. They have something to prove. Prince and Hamilton are playing like they don’t, and that might be even more accurate after another month of losing.

    I think sending Hamilton and/or Prince could accomplish a number of things if the Pistons playoff chances continue to erode. Maybe their backups are better than we think. Maybe getting younger players more playing time will be valuable in the long run.

    At a certain point, and we’re not there yet, it’s worth the Pistons discussing seriously.

  • Dec 14, 20108:38 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    I have to agree with Feldman on Prince.

    He hasn’t been the Pistons’ best player, Wallace has. And Laser will disagree vehemently, but Stuckey has been better than Prince this year. I know all of the complaints on Stuckey that Laser articulates and I know that you hold him to a higher standard. But he’s getting to the line a lot this year, putting up solid rebounding numbers for a PG (or, at least better rebounding numbers relative to PGs than Prince’s are relative to SFs), averaging nearly 6 assists a game to Prince’s 2 and even getting a steal a game.

    He’s not a franchise player be any stretch, but he’s been better than Prince for sure.

  • Dec 14, 20108:41 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @nuetes:

    To me, there’s a lot of logic to them, particularly in the case of Hamilton. Ben Gordon played significantly better than Hamilton as a starter. Hamilton has been pretty bad for about two and a half seasons now. Probably time to look at Gordon as the primary shooting guard.

    Prince is more difficult. I think he’s better than Daye right now.

    As Dan said, these are last resort kind of moves. But Kuester is a coach that is being judged by wins and losses, so if the team keeps losing as he tinkers with virtually every other spot in the lineup, at some point, he’s gonna have to look at those two spots.

  • Dec 15, 20103:21 am
    by Jose Vasquez

    Reply

    TRACY MC GRADY

  • Dec 15, 20108:57 am
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    laser as usual is completely wrong. Tay has been playing well and the team has been losing and those two things are not unrelated. If you notice things like ball movement (and without ball movement this Pistons team is terrible) all ball movement stops when tay gets the ball. Tay fancies himself the go-to man on this team – and has taken that role of “i can score on my man anytime when necessary” role – and he often does – and the Pistons are losing.

    plus Tay never blocks out on defense and his man is always free to go to the glass and that has killed the Pistons in several games.

  • Dec 15, 201011:42 am
    by Jacob

    Reply

    In theory I guess I understand the logic behind these moves, but in actuality I don’t think it’s a good idea. I know Dan posted this before last night’s game and it’s only one game, but it’s hard to imagine BG having a half the likes of which Rip had in the 1st half. He moved without the ball brilliantly and was incredibly efficient shooting. If he can control his temper, I think Rip is more valuable to this team than BG at this time. Tay has had his struggles but he is still a great presence and brings more to the table than Daye could right now. Besides, if they were to bench Tay, T-Mac would deserve the starting SF spot with the way he’s improving and getting more comfortable with his health, so that wouldn’t answer the problem of developing the younger players. Also, if we want Rip and Tay to be bait to bring back something good in a trade (which most fans want), doesn’t benching them lower their value. Even if the season becomes a wash, which I don’t think it will in the weak East, playing Rip and Tay is still the best thing for this team at the moment. Plus, consider their body of work the last 8 years. They were key pieces to a great Pistons era, and you’re going to bench them when it’s not even their fault? C’mon

  • Dec 15, 20101:37 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    pcb, i’ll take my track record and reputation over yours any day, and i doubt anyone who’s paid any attention to us would disagree.

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