Why Tayshaun Prince won’t be a Piston next year

Cast aside any qualms about the Chauncey Billups-for-Allen Iverson trade for a moment. Joe Dumars has done an excellent job as Pistons president.

Part of his shrewdness has been his ability to succeed with moves of any sort — draft picks, trades and signings have all shaped the franchise. The Thunder were built through the draft. The Celtics were built through trades. Detroit can’t be labeled like that.

But there appears to be one constant with Dumars’s moves. He gets rid of players who don’t perform in the playoffs.

In 2001-02, the Pistons secured the No. 2 seed, and the advanced to the second round for the first time in 11 years.

But they needed a full five games to beat the seventh-seeded Raptors in the first round. And they were no match for the Celtics in the second round. Dumars wasn’t satisfied.

The two starters who had the biggest drops in PER from the regular season to the playoffs lost their jobs. Jerry Stackhouse was traded to the Wizards for Richard Hamilton. And Chauncey Billups signed with Detroit, pushing Chucky Atkins to the bench.

And those aren’t the only postseason duds Dumars has jettisoned. Billups, Ben Wallace, Clifford Robinson, Corliss Williamson, Lindsey Hunter and Zeljko Rebraca left the Pistons after falling off in the playoffs.

Prince’s problems

And that brings us to Tayshaun Prince.

He has been absolutely atrocious against Cleveland. Prince is averaging 3.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 32 minutes per game. He has shot 3-of-12 and not taken a free throw.

In game one, he primarily guarded LeBron James, who had 38 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and no turnovers in 41 minutes. Prince covered Delonte West more in game two. West scored 20 points on 12 shots.

And this isn’t an aberration. Prince’s once-spectacular defense has looked less than pedestrian this year.

By several metrics, Prince is the type of player Dumars moves after this season.

Three-year drop

Barring a miracle resurgence the rest of this series, Prince’s PER will have dropped from the regular season to the playoffs in each of the last three seasons.

That has happened to four Pistons in the Dumars era. Billups (9.9 combined drop) and Williamson (12.8 combined drop) were traded. Rasheed Wallace (8.7) and Richard Hamilton (7.3) had lower combined drops and stuck around.

Prince’s combined drop in the last three years is 18.4.

Big drop

Prince’s PER is down from 15 in the regular season to 0.3 in the playoffs (-14.7).

Since 2001-02, just two other starters have had their PER drop from the regular season to the playoffs by at least five — Stackhouse by 5.4 in 2002 and Ben Wallace by 5.2 in 2006.

Both were gone before the next season. (Richard Hamilton has a drop of 4.9 this year, so his future with Detroit could be in jeopardy, too).

Worse drop than last year

And Prince’s drop has gotten worse the last two years, from 1.5 to 14.7.

In the last nine years, seven players’ PER has dropped from the regular season to the playoffs in consecutive season, with the second drop being more than the first. Five of them were gone the next year.

Just Rasheed Wallace and Hamilton stayed with the team.

Value

What’s most intriguing about trading Prince is he still probably has value.

Although I don’t thin Prince could stop many small forwards, he has the hardest task in the league with LeBron. Some GMs might excuse his playoff shortcomings.

And Prince, who will turn 30 next season, isn’t far removed from being one of the league’s most promising players. He was as good as a role player could be. He defended, scored, passed and rebounded. He was even on the Olympic team.

It’s hard to erase that reputation quickly. Look at this John Hollinger column on defensive players. He gives Prince an honorable mention at small forward with this comment:

Tayshaun Prince (+4.87) has been a fixture on this team in past years, but his adjusted plus-minus was terrible and it sure seemed as though guys had an easier time scoring on him than in the past.

The numbers indicated Prince has lost it. And if you’ve watched the Pistons consistently this year, you know it, too. But Hollinger is still slow to realize how far Prince has fallen. And I’m sure he’s not the only one.

A lot of people around the league seem to like Prince. There’s a solid chance Dumars is banking on that.

Regular-season vs. playoff PER

For a complete list of Pistons’ regular-season PER compared to their playoff PER since 2001-02, continue after the jump.


Player Year Age Reg. G Reg. MP Reg. PER Playoff PER Diff.
Amir Johnson 07-08 20 62 764 17.5 23.2 5.7
Amir Johnson 08-09 21 62 911 13.5 12.2 -1.3
Antonio McDyess 04-05 30 77 1797 17.2 16.9 -0.3
Antonio McDyess 05-06 31 82 1733 15.5 17.9 2.4
Antonio McDyess 06-07 32 82 1729 18.1 11.9 -6.2
Antonio McDyess 07-08 33 78 2285 14.1 15.1 1
Antonio McDyess 08-09 34 62 1866 16.6 10.7 -5.9
Arron Afflalo 07-08 22 75 970 10.2 6.7 -3.5
Arron Afflalo 08-09 23 74 1234 8.9 9.8 0.9
Ben Wallace 01-02 27 80 2921 18.6 16.4 -2.2
Ben Wallace 02-03 28 73 2872 17.2 20 2.8
Ben Wallace 03-04 29 81 3050 17.3 18.6 1.3
Ben Wallace 04-05 30 74 2671 17.4 16 -1.4
Ben Wallace 05-06 31 82 2890 17.5 12.3 -5.2
Carlos Arroyo 04-05 25 40 706 10.7 10.6 -0.1
Carlos Delfino 05-06 23 68 726 10.6 -6.7 -17.3
Carlos Delfino 06-07 24 82 1372 12.8 9.6 -3.2
Chauncey Billups 02-03 26 74 2327 20.4 17.9 -2.5
Chauncey Billups 03-04 27 78 2758 18.6 18.8 0.2
Chauncey Billups 04-05 28 80 2866 19 20 1
Chauncey Billups 05-06 29 81 2927 23.4 19 -4.4
Chauncey Billups 06-07 30 70 2533 21.3 18.6 -2.7
Chauncey Billups 07-08 31 78 2522 23.6 20.8 -2.8
Chris Webber 06-07 33 43 1277 16.9 16.8 -0.1
Chucky Atkins 01-02 27 79 2285 14.5 11 -3.5
Chucky Atkins 02-03 28 65 1398 10.1 9.9 -0.2
Clifford Robinson 01-02 35 80 2855 13.5 12 -1.5
Clifford Robinson 02-03 36 81 2825 12.4 9.2 -3.2
Corliss Williamson 01-02 28 78 1701 20 15.4 -4.6
Corliss Williamson 02-03 29 82 2061 15.7 13.2 -2.5
Corliss Williamson 03-04 30 79 1574 14.4 8.7 -5.7
Dale Davis 05-06 36 28 178 9.9 -11.3 -21.2
Dale Davis 06-07 37 46 464 13.2 5.9 -7.3
Damon Jones 01-02 25 67 1083 11.2 11.1 -0.1
Dana Barros 01-02 34 29 582 10.5 1.9 -8.6
Danny Manning 02-03 36 13 89 17.9 3.4 -14.5
Darko Milicic 03-04 18 34 159 6.1 -14.8 -20.9
Darko Milicic 04-05 19 37 254 4.7 3.9 -0.8
Darvin Ham 03-04 30 54 484 8.3 4.1 -4.2
Darvin Ham 04-05 31 47 275 5.6 8.1 2.5
Elden Campbell 03-04 35 65 892 13.8 8.4 -5.4
Elden Campbell 04-05 36 30 340 8.4 5.5 -2.9
Jarvis Hayes 07-08 26 82 1287 13 7.1 -5.9
Jason Maxiell 06-07 23 67 943 14.4 18.5 4.1
Jason Maxiell 07-08 24 82 1768 16.7 15.1 -1.6
Jason Maxiell 08-09 25 78 1408 15.8 21.1 5.3
Jerry Stackhouse 01-02 27 76 2685 19 13.6 -5.4
Jon Barry 01-02 32 82 1985 17.7 15.7 -2
Jon Barry 02-03 33 80 1473 17.9 19.2 1.3
Juan Dixon 07-08 29 17 244 12.4 -12.3 -24.7
Kelvin Cato 05-06 31 4 34 7.7 25.3 17.6
Kwame Brown 08-09 26 58 999 11.5 2.4 -9.1
Lindsey Hunter 03-04 33 33 661 9 7.7 -1.3
Lindsey Hunter 04-05 34 76 1144 9.6 9.2 -0.4
Lindsey Hunter 05-06 35 30 353 10.5 11.1 0.6
Lindsey Hunter 06-07 36 52 745 12.7 2.4 -10.3
Lindsey Hunter 07-08 37 24 215 8.8 8.5 -0.3
Maurice Evans 05-06 27 80 1139 14 22.8 8.8
Mehmet Okur 02-03 23 72 1367 14.7 13.2 -1.5
Mehmet Okur 03-04 24 71 1580 18.3 14.7 -3.6
Michael Curry 01-02 33 82 1912 6.2 9.2 3
Michael Curry 02-03 34 78 1556 5.7 4.7 -1
Mike James 03-04 28 26 512 14.3 10.2 -4.1
Nazr Mohammed 06-07 29 51 773 16.5 52.8 36.3
Rasheed Wallace 03-04 29 22 673 18.8 15.2 -3.6
Rasheed Wallace 04-05 30 79 2687 16.4 15.8 -0.6
Rasheed Wallace 05-06 31 80 2780 17.6 13.1 -4.5
Rasheed Wallace 06-07 32 75 2419 15.7 17.3 1.6
Rasheed Wallace 07-08 33 77 2346 17.2 14.3 -2.9
Rasheed Wallace 08-09 34 66 2123 14.9 13.4 -1.5
Richard Hamilton 02-03 24 82 2639 18.7 16.8 -1.9
Richard Hamilton 03-04 25 78 2772 16.8 19.6 2.8
Richard Hamilton 04-05 26 76 2926 16 13.7 -2.3
Richard Hamilton 05-06 27 80 2825 18.2 15 -3.2
Richard Hamilton 06-07 28 75 2763 18.1 16.4 -1.7
Richard Hamilton 07-08 29 72 2424 18.2 20 1.8
Richard Hamilton 08-09 30 67 2279 16.9 12 -4.9
Rodney Stuckey 07-08 21 57 1081 13.8 14.5 0.7
Rodney Stuckey 08-09 22 79 2517 14.8 13.6 -1.2
Rodney White 01-02 21 16 129 11 -33.6 -44.6
Ronald Dupree 04-05 24 47 472 11.8 -1.1 -12.9
Ronald Murray 06-07 27 69 1477 10.8 6.2 -4.6
Tayshaun Prince 02-03 22 42 435 11.7 15.1 3.4
Tayshaun Prince 03-04 23 82 2701 13.3 15.3 2
Tayshaun Prince 04-05 24 82 3039 16.2 13.8 -2.4
Tayshaun Prince 05-06 25 82 2898 14.8 17 2.2
Tayshaun Prince 06-07 26 82 3001 16 13.8 -2.2
Tayshaun Prince 07-08 27 82 2694 15.6 14.1 -1.5
Tayshaun Prince 08-09 28 82 3057 15 0.3 -14.7
Theo Ratliff 07-08 34 16 223 11.6 8.5 -3.1
Tony Delk 05-06 32 23 378 16.1 11.4 -4.7
Victor Alexander 01-02 32 15 97 9.2 -6.6 -15.8
Walter Herrmann 07-08 28 28 199 14 1.6 -12.4
Walter Herrmann 08-09 29 59 630 11.4 26 14.6
Will Bynum 08-09 26 57 803 17.5 21.5 4
Zeljko Rebraca 01-02 29 74 1179 16.2 8.5 -7.7
Zeljko Rebraca 02-03 30 30 488 14 7.5 -6.5

Tags: Tayshaun Prince