While reading JMW's post on the first round, I decided to start a series before the first round begins looking (at least the starting) players in the 7 game series between our Detroit Pistons and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
I'm calling this Man to Man for the reason that we will be looking at the potential different matchups between the players from both teams.
In this first segment we will look at what will probably be the most talked about matchup: Lebron James vs. Tayshaun Prince. This is a classic example of Offense versus Defense. Sure, We know that Lebron will get every call in the book, but what Tayshaun needs to do is play consistent Basketball Defense on Lebron, and the Pistons will be right in the thick of it.
So with out further delay, Let's look at the Lebron / Tayshaun matchup!
First, We will look at the Hated Lebron James. I don't mean that I hate Lebron, but that he is so good, that you have to hate the fact that he is on a team I'm not particularly fond of! I'm, in fact, in awe everytime this guy touches the ball!
Lebron James is an amazing player and a force to be reckoned with. Period. I mean, the guy is only 24 years old, but has every tool and resource to be one of the Legends in the Future. This season his average for PPG is 28.4 (Here is the Link to his stats page on NBA.com), and his rebounds and assists per game are both around 7.4- One word comes to my mind when I think of Lebron and that would have to be- BEAST.
He is everything a coach desires in a player and even more. Lebron brings his A-game every night, so the Pistons can't let their guard down when it comes to Lebron, and I think that containment is key to going far in this series!
I think that Lebron's page on Wikipedia puts it well:
Answering" a 61-point game by Kobe Bryant two days before, James nearly scored the first 50-point triple double since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975, when he recorded 52 points, 11 assists, and 9 rebounds against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on February 4. The game was originally counted as a triple double, but the NBA later took away one rebound.
And it also says:
James scored 55 points in a win over the Milwaukee Bucks on February 20, 2009. From March 10 to March 13 he posted three triple-doubles in a row against Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns, makes him the leader in the league for this category in front of Chris Paul with seven triple-doubles in a season.
This just doesn't mean that James has had just a good season, it means that Lebron James has had a Career / Historical season!! One that will mark him as one of the most elite players in the NBA at this point.
Look I'm a Pistons fan (and despise anything that isn't - especially that of division and historical rivals), but I have to give Lebron his due. He is an amazing player and without him the Cav's would be nothing!
My prediction on his role: Simple- Lebron will get a heap of looks, and will be a key cog to if this team is ready to take it to the next round and the next level. The Cav's didn't assemble a historic Home record for nothing!
Next we will look at him most likely defender: Mr. Tayshaun (Tay-Tay) Prince
One of my Favorite Defenders in the League (and NOT just because he is a Piston) because of his intensive style of play and really really long arms! I'm 18 years old and I've been watching Tayshaun play since he was at Kentucky. He has (and always will be) a dominant, effective, and technical player of the game of Basketball. I am totally confident that Coach Curry will put Tayshaun on Lebron James, but how will this come out? Let's look at Tayshaun's stats in this 2009 season:
Tayshaun has had a pretty ok season by most terms. It's a normal Tayshaun season at 14.3 PPG (here is the link to the NBA stats page for Tayshaun Prince) and also 5.9 RPG and 3.2 APG. It's been pretty good- but what do we normally associate Tayshaun with? Good ol' traditional Defense! Here are Tayshauns Defensive Numbers: I said that Tayshaun is averaging 5.9 rebounds per game- but of those rebounds and average of 4.3 come on the defensive end of the court. He also has had 44 steals this year and 51 blocks. Sure these numbers don't create that great of an average, but when one plays tight D then it usually creates Turnovers/Rebounds/Blocks for your teammates.
No matter what the 'Tayshaun haters' have to say Tayshaun has proven himself time and time again by consistently being on the Defensive Second Team from 2004-2008. No matter what anyone says, Tayshaun has proven that he can defend.
My Prediction on his role: Tayshaun will have to come up big in this series. If not, then we can expect the Pistons to get swept in 4 games, plain and simple. It will take a major defensive effort not only by 'the Prince' but by the rest of the Pistons.
Who will win out of these two?
It will be a clash between these two, but as much as I hate to say it, King James looks to damn good to be taken care of one on one. If Tayshaun can drop the average of points scored by Lebron and the rest of the Pistons play solid D, then we are looking at a fight, but like a good portion of the year- The Pistons have played so inconsistent that I'm not even sure if they can play at the same level for 7 games.
So I'm choosing James over Tayshaun in this one. *yuck* My mouth has a sour taste in it!
Next Man on Man pt. 2: RIP Hamilton and Delonte West!
Till Next Time!