The Detroit Pistons looked as if they had gained cohesiveness against the Charlotte Bobcats, a growing franchise that gave the Miami Heat one of their tightest games this season. Jonas Jerebko lead the team in scoring with 22 points and rookie Brandon Knight achieved his first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
They pulled away their third win of the season and looked to be on the rise. But, almost too familiar as before, the Pistons slid back to reality against a rolling Golden State Warriors, who have experienced their share of losses yet have seemed like solid Western Conference Playoff contenders this season thus far.
It is unimaginable to think that Tayshaun Prince may be playing his last games as much as Coach Lawrence Frank seemed to be sold on his commitment to the forward progress of the Pistons and being an avid participant. But, it may just be what the doctor ordered for a Detroit basketball franchise consistently disappointing those who try to carry the team’s aspirations on their back.
Prince has been faithful to the team during press conferences and the occasional question or three after the game. Why wouldn’t he? He is a solid basketball player, but more importantly, a good human being.
What makes Prince so desirable is the fact that he not only can contribute to a team’s offense as a role player, but he can also play off in the background without being a media whore or pouting when something does not go his way. His temper never grabs his emotions by the reins and he will never be the guy you hear bashing his own teammates to further propel his own glory.
Prince is a team player if the league has ever seen one and the only reason the Detroit Pistons would love to remove him from their lineup is for the sole purpose of physical change. The mental capacity of the squad was shifted immediately after last season, but there needs to be more done in order for the Pistons to become at least average in performance around the league.
Tayshaun’s empty points towards the end of the game against the Warriors boosted his points total to 20, but they were the most meaningless 20 points of his career. Okay, maybe not that harsh, but it was obvious that the Pistons were going to lose this game. Chucking up those three-pointers in the last moments was just in order to show some form of life.
Prince has the capability to do these things consistently and with impact, of course. But, his minutes only increased because of the absence of Damien Wilkins and throughout the game, he was pretty uneventful. That is not what gets the spirit of your team going.
While his personality allows for leaders to step up and take charge, his veteran status with the Pistons should force him to take that role himself. Prince is a pretty timid force of nature, therefore, not being the type of old-head necessary to rev the troops when they are taking a beating.
A big splash needs to be made and unfortunately trading Tayshaun Prince out for a new face may be what is best for him and the organization. It would sure be a sign of good measure for the Pistons’ fans waiting for something great to happen within the franchise.
Sitting back watching the losses pile up with the occasional moral victory is not exactly how Detroiters imagined this season going in.
There were supposed to be fireworks. There should have been miraculous leaps of faith. There should have been more wins than this.
But, since there are not, the fingers are about to begin pointing in the direction of the team being too loyal to players that can seemingly do no more for them. The same plague has touched down with the Boston Celtics where it seems like the players of the past, such as Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce (however valuable they still may be) are being kept in place simply because of how long they have been the faces of the Celtics.
Just like Prince, they have had a strong presence in what the past has presented to their hometown fans, but it is time to move in a different direction. As Boston recognized that with Kendrick Perkins, Detroit realized it with Richard Hamilton.
But both teams are stalling when it comes to a complete overhaul, keeping fractions of past championship teams that may not exactly be what is best for the now.
The Detroit Pistons have some pretty difficult decisions to make when the trade deadline comes to fruition and Tayshaun Prince may be standing at the head of the line if the team continues to backslide.
There is nothing wrong with change. There is just much more that needs to be done if the new owners want to truly make this franchise a postseason contender any season soon. Prince may be the first casualty, but he certainly will not be the last.