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Tayshaun Prince’s quiet improvement

Me writing for the Detroit Free Press:

Statistically, Prince’s numbers are notably up in a few key areas. After having a bad year shooting the ball last season (42%), he’s making 47% of his shots this season. He’s also making 46%of his 3-pointers this season – 10% better than his career average. He’s getting to the line a bit more than he did last season and, when there, he’s hitting 82% of his free throws, which would also be a career high. His offensive rating (points scored per 100 possessions) is up to a 109 after it dipped to a 101 last season. His usage rate down two percent from last season as well.

The most significant differences for Prince this season are not statistical ones, however. He looks more like his old self — he’s passing the ball more, he’s cutting more, he’s running the floor more and he’s bogging the offense down in isolation possessions where no one else touches the ball much less. In fact, those types of possessions, which were a staple of the Kuester era and very common last season under Lawrence Frank, are almost non-existent at this point.

I don’t know of many people who enjoyed watching Prince as the focal point of the Pistons offense the last few seasons. I also don’t know of many fans — myself included — who thought he’d willingly just go back to being more of a complementary player in the offense, but that has exactly what has happened. For better or worse, he’s allowed Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe sink or swim (and man, have they sunk at times) as the primary offensive options. I still remain pretty adamant that Prince would be a better fit elsewhere, helping a contending team, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how willingly he’s adapted to a changed role this season.

37 Comments

  • Dec 7, 20122:15 pm
    by Scott Free

    Reply

    To the consternation of some fans, Tay and Maxiel have shown improvements since last year and remain some of the Pistons most consistant players.

  • Dec 7, 20122:31 pm
    by bugsygod

    Reply

    It will be interesting at the trade deadline to see if any deals come about for prince or max.  They both have had really good years and with the minutes they have gotten should have some interest in the league.  Really good to see prince take on a more “teaching” leadership role with this young team.  His negative body language has improved a great deal as well, its almost like someone spoke to him about this. 

  • Dec 7, 20122:39 pm
    by Corey

    Reply

    Agreed. Very interesting to see whether Prince and Max are traded before the deadline. If the Pistons are fading out of the playoff race – hmm let me rephrase that. If it’s become blindingly obvious they have a snowball’s chance in hell at the playoffs, perhaps they’ll be willing to trade those two for some assets for the future. They’re playing well enough to be desirable assets. And Tay will only have 2 years left on his contract – that’s getting to where it’s not a liability, at least.

    Corey

  • Dec 7, 20123:16 pm
    by Matt

    Reply

    I was having this same conversation with a co-worker today. Despite how I felt going into the season (which is that I wanted to see as little of Tay as possible), he’s been a really effective player. He’s still not in the team’s long-term plans, so I wouldn’t be too sad to see him gone at the trading deadline, but that’s way different than how I felt about him before (which is that I would have been willing to pack his bags for him if it meant that he was leaving town).

  • Dec 7, 20123:44 pm
    by labatts

    Reply

    Given Dumar’s track record at the trade deadline, I am not exactly holding my breath for impending trades.  Heck, even if he does pull a trade, recent history suggests he will be giving up additional assets simply to dump salary (or a year of salary).

    • Dec 7, 20124:26 pm
      by bugsygod

      Reply

      ^^^^^^THIS IS THE TYPE OF BS POST I MEAN PATRICK.  Joe made ONE salary dump with assets and now this is what he does????  DAMN, can we look at the ENTIRE body of work??  stupid stuff!  WE just ignore the 15-20 other trades he has done over the last 10years!??

      • Dec 7, 20124:38 pm
        by labatts

        Reply

        Just for s&g, I did a cursory search, and this is what I found for the most recent trades by joe dumars:
         
        Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess and Cheikh Samb traded for Allen Iverson
        Nazr Mohammed for Primož Brezec and Wálter Herrmann
        Elden Campbell and a first round draft pick, traded for Carlos Arroyo
         
        The last one gets as far back as 2005.  Prior to that, he (of course) made some good trades (Rasheed, etc). 
         

        • Dec 7, 20126:27 pm
          by bugsygod

          Reply

          Labatts the billups trade was not a salary move.  The trade was because for the prior 3 years of getting put out in the playoffs, MOST people said that the pistons had to make a move.  A move to find a one on one scorer for the FAMOUS Pistons scoring droughts.  So the move was to get a better scorer for deeper in the playoffs. 
          I am a little confused with the Nazr trade you mentioned as that was Universally regarded as a good deal to rid the Pistons of the Mohammad contract.  So we gave away a bad contract with no assets going to the other team, for two players that were gone at the end of the year. 
          The campbell trade was to be able to keep sheed as he was a FA the year after we won the title in ’04. 

          • Dec 7, 20126:41 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            Cambell was traded in 2005. Rasheed was re-signed in 2004.

          • Dec 7, 20127:01 pm
            by bugsygod

            Sheed was resigned AFTER we won the title in ’04, he was FA the summer of ’04 and resigned.  The cambell trade we acquired MORE salary in arroyo.  So not a salary dump.
            http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=1972052
            You gonna let labatts no he was incorrect or just me?
             

          • Dec 7, 20127:17 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            No, it wasn’t a salary dump. It was just an awful trade.

            But I will toss in Corliss Williamson. He was traded in a salary dump. 

      • Dec 7, 201210:18 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        Over the last several years, virtually all of Dumars’ moves (apart from draft picks) have been bad. But you are right that he hasn’t exactly been doing tons of salary dumps in which he threw in other assets. To say that is a typical Dumars move is a gross misrepresentation. To not trust that Dumars has any vision or capability to handle this rebuild, not so much.

        • Dec 7, 201211:23 pm
          by Max

          Reply

          Tarsier’s point about it being a gross misrepresentation is correct and why Labatts post is irritating.

  • Dec 7, 20124:27 pm
    by bugsygod

    Reply

    But im sure labatts will get a pass as a reasonable good commenter with great insight…. lame

    • Dec 7, 20124:33 pm
      by labatts

      Reply

      At least he knows I am not someone who simply posts to try and get a response.  Have a good weekend, bugsy.

    • Dec 7, 20125:57 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I’m going to give you a secret here. Here is what makes labatts (and anyone, really) a good commenter vs. a bad one:

      - His posts are short and easily digestible, not hundreds of words like yours often are.
      - If someone makes a reasonable argument he disagrees with, he’ll respond with a reasonable countperpoint that doesn’t involve saying ‘this is BS’ or ‘lame’ or ‘you’re too young to know the team’s history’ or the handful of other obnoxious tendencies you have. He makes an effort to understand what is written in the post or the comment he is responding to, he responds by making his point quickly and that’s it.

      There’s no secret to why you’re unpleasant to have around here. And in fairness, I’ve certainly been bad about engaging with you and making things worse. But you write way too long, you make little or no effort to understand points that are contrary to your own and you argue against points that no one is making. Those things make it really difficult to deal with you.

      • Dec 7, 20126:09 pm
        by bugsygod

        Reply

        The point is that there is NO salary dump for Maxiel or Prince…DUH!!!  Max IS ON AN EXPIRING CONTRACT, HELLO? No salary dump for prince because even Patrick you have stated he has a reasonable contract.  Meaning no incentive to get rid of the “contract” like the gordon trade.  So who would they be sending away for a salary move??? But that is not thrown into labatts face, if i said the same thing im the jerk.  smh  <–short and concise.

        • Dec 7, 20126:21 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          “So who would they be sending away for a salary move?”

          Villanueva?

          “if i said the same thing im the jerk.”

          He was making a joke. A joke with a hint of seriousness because, as he’s pointed out, Dumars has made some awful trades lately. I would add his trades dumping Afflalo and Johnson to the list of ‘salary dump’ moves he’s made, so it’s not just the Gordon trade as you indicated either.

          And you are ‘the jerk’ because you responded to a comment from him and tried to suggest he’s some sort of awful commenter for having the audacity to be frustrated by some of the incompetent moves Dumars has made over the years. Quit acting like a crazy person. If you want to comment here, it’s fine. Comment here. But you’ll get a lot more out of if by not posting monster rants and not picking fights with random people. Express your points concisely and move one. If people disagree with you, consider and think about the point they’re making before responding.

          • Dec 7, 20126:51 pm
            by bugsygod

            A salary dump for Villanueva???  When he can just be amnestied next year?  So Patrick you are saying Joe would trade CV w/ a 1st pick to get rid of the salary when he can just be amnestied next year?  Hope that’s a joke or some way of trying to show loyalty to labatts.
            *
            So If i make a joke, im a troll, jerk, ass, dumbass etc.  I make a TON OF JOKES on here, but you call me out as a jerK?  Im sorry patrick but where im from somebody hits you, you hit back.  You started this crap with me a looong time ago, I would show the exact posts to my co workers when you were calling me names and cursing, they couldn’t believe a blog affiliated w/ espn would have someone like you on here saying those things.  This was MULTIPLE coworkers, reading the same things i write on hear.  So its something personal for you, i just like to talk about the pistons.
            *
            the afflalo trade was a salary dump to get more money to sign FA’s, the BAD decision was the FA’s chosen, not the trade.  Amir johnson had been here for 4 years and never became starting quality and still has not.  He gets about 20 mins a game with the raps.
            *
            Finally, I listen to other peoples points and tell them Good Point, just like the Prince post earlier by Dan.  This again shows your one sided and only want to look when i disagree with you or another commenter.   This is supposed to be a forum for EVERYONE to voice opinions and there views of the team.  So you want us to only agree?  We cant have difference of opinions?  I just jumped on labatts to prove my point, but i very rarely insult anyone, unless they come at me that way.  Apology to Labatts!

          • Dec 7, 20127:30 pm
            by Dan Feldman

            “So Patrick you are saying Joe would trade CV w/ a 1st pick to get rid of the salary when he can just be amnestied next year?”

            That was the exact structure of the Ben Gordon trade, and Dumars did that. I don’t know whether the Pistons would trade a pick to dump Villanueva, but there is a reason to — money. If they amnesty him, they still have to pay him and his replacement on the roster. If they dump him, they no longer have to pay him.

          • Dec 7, 20127:30 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            Re: Villanueva. If you amnesty him, Gores still has to pay him, in addition to whatever player(s) they use the cap space to sign. If you give up an asset to get a team to give up an expiring deal for him, you get out of paying him. I’m not saying they would, I’m just saying it wouldn’t be far-fetched to consider it. Gores has spent a ton of money on this team so far, and so far, he’s not making any judging by the attendance. I would love to see Villanueva amnestied, but it’s also expensive.

            Re: ‘who started it?’ I’m not going to get into a pissing match about who started what. My issue individually with you has always been that you don’t just disagree, you’ve questioned mine and Dan’s credibility numerous times. So yeah, I take issue with that, and yeah, as a result I have less patience with you than others.

            As for getting mad about my responses the other day, I’m not going to apologize. You said what you said, I said what I said. I’m aware of what I said, and I’m aware that it probably makes me look petty or mean to outside observers. I’m OK with that decision though. Frankly, all I know about you is your online persona here, and I don’t like it. Would we probably have a better, more civil discussion face to face rather than through a comments section? Sure. But that’s not how this works. You have presented yourself a certain way, you have crossed lines here in posts directed at Dan and I personally here that I take great exception to and it makes me mad. So that’s my explanation. I’m probably overly defensive to some of your comments, but there’s a history there that your co-workers or whoever are probably not privy to. Bottom line, I feel like you’ve attacked the credibility of this site too often, and I don’t feel that there’s going to be an easy repair to just have civil discourse with you like I have with most other commenters.

            Re: Afflalo: It wasn’t a bad decision to give him away for essentially nothing?

            Re: your last point: “This is supposed to be a forum for EVERYONE to voice opinions and there views of the team.  So you want us to only agree?”

            When have you been not allowed to do this? I generally detest a large percentage of what you post, and yet you are still allowed to post it. It goes both ways though. I’m allowed to post my responses, particularly when your comments are directed at me or the site. There are things I’m not going to let slide without a response, but the fact is, this is still an open forum where you’re allowed to express any dissenting opinion you want.

          • Dec 7, 20129:57 pm
            by Max

            Busgy’s first post was right on because Labatts made a comment about Dumars’ recent trade history and the fact of the matter is that Dumars recent trade history boils down to exactly one trade.  It is bullshit to draw any kind of pattern from a single trade and any other trade Dumars has ever made would have zero bearing on the phrase, “recent history”.  If someone wanted to attack Dumars’ recent trade history with any sense, the only possible avenue would be to use it to say he will do nothing and that was not what Labbats said. 
            I sympathize with Bugsy’s post because Labatts’ comment is just the type that irritates me to no end because it is just sullenly pessimistic and without any logical basis.  As much as the term has been blasted here, he really deserves the term “hater” in regards to how he must feel about Dumars given his comment because it is an unsubstantiated, wholly insupportable, emotional attack. 

          • Dec 7, 201210:10 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            @Max:

            It’s fair to say that Dumars hasn’t made a trade that has helped the team since trading for Wallace though, right? I mean, the caveat is ownership limited his ability some to make trades for about a two year period. I’m OK with including that caveat in there. But the trades he’s made since ‘Sheed (I guess you could count turning Darko into Stuckey a net positive, although that trade was also of the fixing a mistake variety) have either been dumping his free agency mistakes (Nazr, Gordon, etc.) or selling off prospects for less value than they ultimately proved to be worth elsewhere (Afflalo, Johnson, Delfino).

            So you didn’t like someone making a snarky comment. OK. But I just want to point out that you’re being critical of a comment lacking substance while also posting a rebuttal that lacks substance.  

          • Dec 7, 201210:25 pm
            by Max

            My post doesn’t lack substance because my points were correct and your response to me has you performing one of your pet peeves by arguing against points that I didn’t make.   Further, your hedging on the value of the Stuckey-Darko trade is very suspect in terms of intellectual honesty since any number of trades could be classified as fixing a mistake but I never see writers act so unfairly as to use how a player traded was originally acquired to grade a trade.   Your doing so seems to be more about winning a debate then anything else to me. 
            Also, I don’t know that Dumars recent trade history, the Gordon trade, wasn’t a good one since only time will tell and I’m very happy that Gordon is gone—you say I am too uncritical of Piston players but I never said anything positive about Gordon on these boards, quite the opposite, when he was on the team.

          • Dec 7, 201210:30 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            So dumping Afflalo and Johnson in 2009 for peanuts was too long ago to be considered ‘recent’ history then?

          • Dec 7, 201210:48 pm
            by Max

            Yes.   It was essentially a different epoch in Pistons history and came at a time when Dumars was attempting a home run swing to keep the Pistons from falling helplessly into quicksand.   He obviously whiffed but those trades have almost no bearing on an evaluation of whether Dumars can make positive trades while in rebuilding mode because he made the moves when they were still considered contenders and was trying to keep them there.   It is very common for contending teams to dump young prospects in such a phase.   The new year is just around the bend and 4 years ago is an eternity in NBA terms as most coaches and players don’t last four years with a single team and most teams don’t experience four years with the same core.  

          • Dec 7, 201210:51 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            They were absolutely NOT contenders in 09-10 when he made the Afflalo/Johson trades. Dumars himself referred to it as a transition phase. They’d lost Billups through the trade in season year before, lost Iverson, Wallace and McDyess in free agency, etc. No one, not even Dumars thought the team was a contending team then. I believe he called it ‘rebuilding while remaining competitive.’ Competitive is not contending.

          • Dec 7, 201211:07 pm
            by Max

            You’re right.  When you said 09, I was thinking 08-09.   My time frame was a bit off although I still think Johnson was traded in 08-09.   Everything I said about recent history and what four years means in the NBA stands though. 

          • Dec 7, 201211:15 pm
            by Max

            ?: Does the average Pistons fan on this site act like the team was just recently contending or do they act like the Pistons have sucked for a long time?   Food for thought.

  • Dec 7, 20125:18 pm
    by Scott Free

    Reply

    I’m kind of hedging between labatts and bugsy here… I’m not as cynical as to expect a salary dump (especially if we’re talking about the vets, Maxiel and Prince).  But I’d also be surprised if anyone was willing to make a trade with Detroit.  Simply put, Detroit needs Prince and Maxiel more than any other team in the league would — and neither are significant enough impact players to make the difference off the bench for a playoff bound squad.  Would most teams like to have Tay and Max? Without question… are they willing to get rid of assets to acquire them?  If they did, we would have made the deal already.

  • Dec 7, 20126:37 pm
    by Corey

    Reply

    It’s likely that someone who thinks they are a contender will have an injury or think they are just one player short, and then want a Prince or Maxiel. Then picking up a late 1st round pick or young prospect is very possible. On the other hand, if they just want competent but unexceptional veterans, they could just keep them. That thought does not excite me.

  • Dec 7, 20128:02 pm
    by labatts

    Reply

    “Apology to Labatts!”
    Right.  Thanks.

  • Dec 7, 201210:07 pm
    by Max

    Reply

    I’ve been wondering lately if a trade with the Lakers could work.   Stuckey, Prince and Maxiell would all help the Lakers and while they don’t have much to give up, their draft pick might not be terrible given their start and the Pistons could use Jodie Meeks’ 3 point shot.

    • Dec 7, 201210:15 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Lakers don’t want to take on salary past next season, so that would probably make them not interested in Prince.

      • Dec 7, 201210:25 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        Why not? Who are they looking to sign after next season? Or are they just trying to avoid a big tax hit? Because if it’s that, I’m guessing it would come down to whether they thought another piece would push them over the top or not (a la the Spurs signing Jefferson).

        • Dec 7, 201210:30 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          I don’t know exactly what their plan is, but Stein or Woj reported that was part of the holdup to them dealing Gasol — they don’t want to take on contracts that last beyond the 13-14 season in exchange for him.

  • Dec 10, 20121:01 pm
    by apa8ren9

    Reply

    Ive been a supporter of Tayshaun’s and I argued that I didnt think the contract was as bad as a lot of people thought.  I have noticed that as Monroe and Knight have played better he has filled in and played better.  He doesnt need to force things cause Knight and Monroe know what to do now.   However with this coach and his lack of adjustments, this has probably cost us 3-4 games that we could have won so far.   I dont expect Tayshaun to be traded until we are winning team in the 45-50 win range and that probably wont happen until 2014.  That is also about the time when no one will need to hold Drummond’s hand at all and he will be one of the top 5 centers in the league.

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