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Tayshaun Prince has no idea (or maybe two conflicting ideas) how to successfully coach a team

Tayshaun Prince has more advice for John Kuester. Via Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:

"I think no matter what team you have, in my sense, I think you have to find out who your starting five is and roll with it," Prince said.

I completely disagree. Ideally, it would be great to have a clear-cut five players who are better than their teammates and play well together. But when that’s not the case, not only is changing the starting lineup tolerable, it’s often logical.

What about players who improve during the season? Shouldn’t they have a chance to earn a starting spot? And what about players who don’t live up to expectations? Shouldn’t they risk losing their starting job?

Let’s keep in mind the Pistons’ first starting lineup this season was Rodney Stuckey, Richard Hamilton, Prince, Austin Daye and Ben Wallace. Kuester’s first attempt to improve the lineup was replacing Daye with Jason Maxiell. Neither lineup includes Detroit’s best player this season, Greg Monroe, who didn’t even crack the initial rotation.

Identifying your starting five and blindly rolling with it, to me, seems disadvantageous. What do you think, Tayshaun?

Prince feels for the players not as fortunate as him, especially Chris Wilcox, who’s play has improved dramatically in recent games.

"I always tell people, when you come off that bench and you’re not playing consistent minutes, it’s hard to stay in a rhythm," Prince said. "He was in a bad situation last year. He didn’t get good minutes."

So, Prince wants to keep the same starting lineup, even though he realizes it adversely affects the bench players. Chris Wilcox already faced a steep hill to starting, because he began the season on the bench. What if he had been told he had no chance at starting this season, because the Pistons were just rolling with their original starters? How hard do you think he would have worked?

Players need incentives, and they need roles. For coaches, balancing those two sometimes-conflicting ideas is a challenge. Prince seems to understand and ignore that simultaneously, which is pretty fitting considering how the Pistons fanbase feels about Kuester.

The Kuester divide

Some advice:

Pistons fans who think Kuester haphazardly changes his rotation too often, keep in mind a sizable number of fans think he stubbornly refuses to change his rotation often enough.

Pistons fans who think Kuester stubbornly refuses to change his rotation often enough, keep in mind a sizable number of fans think he haphazardly changes his rotation too often.

Tayshaun, uh, I guess keep both in mind.

Prince’s statement wrong on content, not intent

I don’t fault Prince for saying this. I’m 100 percent for athletes speaking their minds. If Prince feels this way, and I give him a ton of credit for saying it. He shouldn’t have to subjugated his thoughts at the feet of an almighty head coach.

But Prince also must understand his role. Who starts, even in the NBA, is the coach’s decision. Players are entitled to disagree, and I wish more would publicly when they do privately. I think Prince is wrong, but I’ll stick up for his right to be wrong.

My problem in this regard comes when players let what they can’t control – like starting lineups – control what they can – like showing up to practice.


  • Mar 23, 20113:13 pm
    by Laser


    ech… i mean, yes and no.
    1) i don’t think these ideas are in conflict with one another. the central idea of both of these quotes is that players should have established roles and relatively consistent minutes. and i agree completely.
    in his first comment, he’s not saying, “pick five guys and start them, come hell or high water.” there’s a process involved in finding out who the starting five are (tayshaun’s proposed first step), but it shouldn’t take TWO FULL SEASONS. it’s insane. this current lineup (t-mac, rip, tay, moose, body) is a logical one. mostly veterans, arguably best players, it’s a good defensive lineup by this team’s standards, it’s basically your plodding half-court team. then you’ve got all your young, more up-tempo guys coming off the bench in the second unit (horrendously undersized though it may be, but hey it’s a bad team). this is more-or-less as good a rotation as you could put together with this mess of a roster. only it took until the pistons were completely out of the playoff picture to put it together. in all the time t-mac has started at the point, rip didn’t start alongside him until the season was already finished, even though their games seem like they’d complement each other and we’d already seen good chemistry between them when they were coming off the bench together.
    the team stinks. it was never going to be any good. but there were logical choices and illogical choices as to who could start and in what combinations. kuester’s ideas of starting lineups and rotations have just been deplorable and indefensible. neither daye nor max should have started a single game at PF, stuckey should not have been the starting PG for so much of the season… and when he strung together the first truly impressive four-game stretch of his career in that role, he shouldn’t have been removed from that role so quickly. i mean, if this kid is such an important part of the team’s future, and you’re basically committed to keeping him at the point since you’re inconveniently overloaded at the off guard position, how do you not ride him out and see if he hasn’t turned that corner we’ve invested so much in waiting for him to turn??? it’s insane. it’s all insane.
    so kuester should have found a starting five that made sense before it was too late. but he didn’t. his starting lineups and rotations never made sense, he went with a lot of foreseeably bad lineups for no good reason while refusing to give certain guys a chance. it’s not just that he changed lineups too frequently or infrequently, because he did BOTH. he just stuck with so many bad decisions for too long, and other times he’d make a change at the drop of a hat. it’s both. and there never seemed to be any rhyme or reason to any of it.
    also his comments and actions support the theory that who played and who didn’t was based on how well players did in practice that week. and while that’s a fine theory in a sense, it fails in execution. and that shows in the results. this isn’t saturday night live where you’re fighting for your job every week. not everyone is going to be on every week, and the best players really shouldn’t have to beat out everyone in practice every day. sometimes you just don’t have it on a given day. chemistry has been elusive both because the parts don’t fit and because they haven’t even been given the chance to jell. and does anyone seriously believe bynum never worked hard enough in practice to earn a start even ONCE?? how stupid would you have to be to believe that?
    so it’s a broken system with an idiot at the wheel. and anything tayshaun or anyone else wants to say about it is fine by me. i think the thrust of his wilcox comment is the inconsistent minutes issue. he can’t possibly be saying that coming off the bench keeps players from contributing, because you’re always going to have guys coming off the bench. but when they don’t know what their role is, if they’re going to play at all, how much, who with, you can’t expect consistent production. so whatever. kuester was doomed to fail, but nobody with a clue should have failed as spectacularly as he has.
    2) this just amounts to more silly distractions as far as i’m concerned. what tayshaun said is inconsequential. everyone knows that stability and roles are important. who could muster the energy to worry about what he said or she said or any of that garbage? this sort of underscores why i shouldn’t be talking pistons anymore. there’s nothing to talk about.
    did prince contradict himself with his statements? who gives a shit? it doesn’t matter. yet somehow it merits discussion, because there’s nothing else to talk about. we won’t make the playoffs, but we’re playing our way right out of a good pick. the team needs sweeping changes (ownership, coaching, roster, even the GM), but nothing appears to be forthcoming. even if someone buys this team before next season tips off (VERY BIG “IF”), turning over the roster probably won’t be easy. if the owner is a complete idiot, he may buy out rip or trade him with a desperately-needed lottery pick, but where does that get us? we need more of these jokers off the books, and i don’t see it happening.
    sorry for the rant. probably had to get this out of my system periodically or something…

    • Mar 23, 20113:42 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Laser, your hiatus really lasted a long time, huh?

      • Mar 23, 20114:21 pm
        by Laser


        i pitched in a few comments on the roundtable and got back in the habit. trust me, it won’t last.

      • Mar 23, 20114:25 pm
        by Laser


        also i should say i never boycotted or quit checking in on the site. the team’s in my blood like AIDS (only worse), and i need to wean myself off. seems weird that you’d want to discourage commenting here, but that’s your prerogative.

  • Mar 23, 20114:13 pm
    by Whoneedsastar


    Hope springs eternal… Even for Laser…

  • Mar 23, 20114:57 pm
    by gordbrown


    I must say I find myself in agreement with Laser to a point. Kuester’s first starting lineup was probably defensible. But his second starting lineup made no sense (and frankly its been downhill from there). I remember a discussion on another board about how Kuester had ruined Ben Gordon. Well frankly he ruined Maxiel by constantly setting him up to fail. The second game of the season was lost because Maxiel was asked to cover a combo 3/4 in the open floor (something he has never, ever shown the ability to do). Maxiel was rewarded for this failure by being inserted in the starting lineup alongside Ben Wallace. Not only do Wallace and Maxiel’s stengths cancel each other out but their weaknesses multiply together such that a starting line up featuring the two of them is going to lose no matter who comes off the bench. By the time that experiment ran its course, the season was essentially a write off. Another example: Hamilton was punished for his performance of only showing up every fourth game (or against Toronto whichever comes first) by being sidelined (way too late in my opinion) and then just as inexplicably plugged back into the starting lineup. And guess what, he still only shows up for every fourth game (or Toronto whichever comes first). I feel bad for Q, he was also put in a position to fail, but frankly even if Joe gave him the shovel, he’s put a lot of effort into digging a hole as deep and as fast as he could. And to Prince’s credit, he showed up a played through most of the controversy, only slowed down by what was clearly a serious injury.

  • Mar 23, 20115:23 pm
    by neutes


    I don’t care anymore. The past is all sunk. It’s too bad we didn’t have Jerebko healthy that way the PF spot wouldn’t have been a mess all season. Wilcox started off hurt and didn’t get any time until half way through the season practically. Wallace has been in and out of the lineup. Half these guys have missed time here and there. Rip went AWOL, Mcgrady’s had DNP’s, Stuckey out a few games, they’ve all missed time for various reasons. It took too long to put Mcgrady at PG, then it took too long for Stuckey to finally look like he might be able to play PG. Took a while for Monroe to figure things out.
    Ideally we would have started Stuckey, Rip, Prince, Jerebko, and Wallace from the get go and had all of them play consistently and at a high level. Then had Monroe come on strong and steal away one of the front court spots. Health, DNP’s, suspensions, malcontents, etc. Not exactly easy to put together a consistent lineup with this group.

  • Mar 23, 201111:36 pm
    by robotboy15


    As I insist on saying virtually every time I chime in–I’m sick to death of Tayshon “I’m Not Happy, So I Give Up, So We Can’t Possibly Hope to Play Decent Ball After the All-Star Break, So the Playoffs Are Virtually Impossible” Prince.  Go away, Tay.  You can be an important cog on a good team.  You are a detriment to this Pistons team, even when you play well.  And if JOD resigns you, his reign will come to an end.
    The problem isn’t, I think, that Kuester hasn’t stuck with the same five.  On a team with ten fair to sorta good players, it’s hard to find the right five.  But what rankles most is that he seems to make his decisions witha  ouija board.  T-Mac is the new point guard–T-Mac is in the dog house and benched for five games–T-Mac is the new point guard; Stuckey is the point guard–Stuckey is on the bench– Stuckey puts together his best four or five game of the season–Stuckey gets fifteen minutes off the bench; WMFB shows signs of reverting to 2009 form–WMFB gets a string of DNPs; Rip is benched for six weeks–Rip leads the team in shots every night.
    I just can’t imagine what the guy is doing.

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