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Completing our look back on Tayshaun Prince's Detroit Pistons career, DBB's staff of writers offer a head's up to Grizzlies fans on what to expect.
While Detroit Pistons fans must remain patient before seeing Jose Calderon take the court, Memphis Grizzlies fans have already witnessed Tayshaun Prince in action: he was greeted with a standing ovation before scoring 14 points with three assists and a block in 31 minutes in his debut.
In other words, just another day at the office. His highlights:
Prince has already given a taste of what he can do, but else do Grizzlies fans need to know about their new starting small forward? DBB's staff of writers offer their take.
He's long, smooth and can stroke it; he provides veteran leadership; and he has amazing Isolayshaun game. Oh, wait, we don't need to sell him anymore; he's already been traded... Seriously, though, he's best suited for a role like he'll have on the Grizzlies and will very quietly make the team better.
Grizzlies fans need to know that they are not taking a huge step backwards from Rudy Gay. While Prince won't provide the highlight dunks or elite athleticism he will give you smart, unselfish basketball that allows his better teammates to be successful. He's a great team defender, still a respectable one-on-one defender and a willing passer. He won't make bad decisions with the ball and coach Lionel Hollins is going to love him.
He seems like a really nice fit with an already strong team. Over the last few years in Detroit, he carried more of the load than he was capable of doing, and his performance suffered. Defensively, he's not as good as he once was; however, many of us have speculated that this has as much to do with the types of players he was being asked to guard in the East, such as Paul Pierce and LeBron James, both of whom are bigger, faster, and stronger than Prince. Offensively, Prince has a nice game off the bounce and in the post, but being the number one option isn't his wheelhouse.
In Memphis, he won't be asked to be the number one option. In the first half of this season, he wasn't asked to be in Detroit, and his production has surged. Tay should function nicely as a veteran glue guy who provides solid, consistent production at both ends. He's not a great player who suddenly turns Memphis into a contender all by himself, but he's a nice piece that will more than mitigate Gay's departure.
He improves your title chances immensely. But that comes mostly from the fact that Rudy Gay is no longer taking the vast majority of the shots despite being one of the worst scorers on the team. Also though, Prince is the ideal fourth option on offense, and this move puts him firmly in that spot.
1) He is at his best when he has strong help defense behind him. "The block" aside, he isn't a shot-blocker, or a one-man stopping machine.
2) He is every bit as good as Rudy Gay. You lost nothing, here.
A lot of Pistons fans (at least those in this corner of the internet) were eager to see Tayshaun Prince leave, but that was more of a reflection on where the Pistons are as a team and less on Prince's (still considerable) talents. It never made sense for Joe Dumars to re-sign Prince two years ago. The Pistons are a rebuilding team, and giving Prince four more years was a decision clouded by loyalty.
But for the Grizzlies? A contending team looking to add a veteran presence who's been to the promised land, who's cradled the Larry O'Brien and won Olympic gold? Who never has to be told to play defense and will soon know the playbook better than the coaching staff? It's a brilliant move.
Lionel Hollins was angry about the trade, saying, "When you have champagne taste, you can’t be on a beer budget." But if Prince is beer, at the very least he's an expensive craft brew -- maybe not a HopSlam, but at least a Founders Breakfast Stout.