Rodney Stuckey checked in at No. 78 on Zach Lowe’s attempt to rank the top 100 players in the NBA at Sports Illustrated’s Point Forward blog, and I dare say that Tayshaun Prince, who ranks 61st on the list, will be the last Piston to make the cut:
61. Tayshaun Prince
F, unrestricted free agent (Detroit Pistons)
2010-11 Stats: 14.1 PPG, 47.3 FG%, 34.7 3PT%, 4.2 RPG, 2.8 APG
We’ve apparently entered the aging wing section of the list. While Butler and Richardson are evolving, Prince really just needs to keep doing what he has always done in order to maintain his status in the league. He has been remarkably consistent, posting a PER between 15.0 and 16.2 in each of the last seven seasons, averaging about 14 points and five boards per game in each one.
If we’re searching for versatile players, Prince fits the bill. He has long been a very good defender, and even last year, amid that mess in Detroit, only 57 players allowed their individual opponents to score fewer points per possession than Prince. He was especially tough in isolation situations (opponents shot just 40-of-122), and his long arms allow him to contest shots well on the perimeter.
Prince has never been a scoring star, but he can do a bit of everything on offense — isolation work, post-ups, spot-up threes and even the occasional pick-and-roll. That’s a nice kind of player to have, especially when the shot clock is running down and someone has to do something. He gets the nod over Marion, by a hair, because of his superior shooting range.
I think all of those evaluations of Prince are pretty accurate, which is exactly why he makes more sense on a team where he could be the third or fourth option, rather than the first or second as he’s had to be for the Pistons the last two seasons.