Now that the trade sending Tayshaun Prince to the Memphis Grizzlies after a decade in Detroit has started to sink in, DBB's writers reflect on No. 22's career in Detroit.
If you ask a Pistons fan about "The Block," they'll know exactly what you mean. Tayshaun Prince's sneak attack on a fast-breaking Reggie Miller in the final minute of Game 2 of the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals is one of the most iconic moments in NBA playoff history, and it instantly sealed Prince's place in Pistons lore in just his second season in the league.
But what else will we remember about Prince's time in Detroit? DBB's staff weighs in on our second favorite memories below, and we invite you to do the same in the comments.
My second favorite memory of Prince is actually of a time when he was wearing a different blue, Kentucky blue. It was his senior year, his Wildcats were playing their storied rival North Carolina, and the lefty Prince started the game by scoring Kentucky's first fifteen (15!) points in roughly two minutes, all on treys, no misses. 5 for 5, 15 points. I remember watching it live and I remember watching it over and over again after he was drafted by the Pistons about six months later. That alone had me genuinely excited for the Tayshaun Prince era, even if unconscious MJ-like offensive takeovers was the exact opposite kind of impact he was going to have on games.
I think 1,200 words violates the roundtable discussion rules but I covered my favorite Prince memory in-depth in September. The lengthy, little-used rookie from Kentucky gets major minutes in a desperation move as the Pistons stare down elimination in the 2003 playoff series against the Magic. McGrady prematurely celebrates moving on to the second round after going up 3-1 and Prince and the Pistons promptly shut him down and win three straight to take the series. As far as I'm concerned this is the beginning of the championship era.
Like Sean, how suddenly he burst onto the scene in the 2003 playoffs. There's not a lot I remember about the first few games of that Magic series, but the way he completely changed it from out of nowhere was - literally - a franchise-altering moment.
439 consecutive starts. I think this accomplishment really captures what Tay meant to that squad. It's not a flashy feat, but steady and reliable.
Taking Tracy McGrady and the Magic to the pinball machine in the first round of the playoffs after McGrady remarked on how nice it felt to go to the second round of the playoffs.
Like Shinons* said, one of the things that made Tayshaun special was his consistency game in and game out (it's uncanny how little his season stats have varied over his career) so it's hard to pick a single moment out. But like my esteemed colleagues, I'm going with the Tracy McGrady smackdown in the 2003 playoffs. It's easy to forget now, but McGrady was fresh off his first scoring title and arguably the best player in the entire league, while Prince was a forgotten rookie who appeared in just 42 games in the regular season. But with the season on the line, Prince answered the call.