When the Pistons re-signed Tayshaun Prince in the offseason, Lawrence Frank was reportedly one of the biggest proponents in bringing Prince back. It didn’t make total sense to me at the time. Not that Prince is a bad or ineffective player, per se, it’s just that Frank was presented as an advanced stats friendly guy, I’ve yet to come across an advanced stat that pegs Prince as having some sort of secret production that doesn’t show up in his rather pedestrian counting stats and, on top of that, Prince is aging and also publicly called his previous coach a buffoon. I’m not surprised that Frank, as most coaches do, wanted a veteran player at small forward, I was just a little surprised he seemed to lobby so hard for it.
But, thanks to SI’s Zack Lowe, there is now a statistical reason to explain why Frank may have been so high on Prince. First, last week, Lowe explained that Frank is one of a few coaches who understands the importance of both making and defending the corner three. Then, yesterday, Lowe posted this:
Via NBA.com’s stats database, here’s a list of all players who have taken at least half their three-point attempts from the corners this season, with some slight fudging to include a couple of Rockets who miss the 50 percent barrier by a hair. (Note: We’re only looking at guys who have taken at least 50 threes this season.)
Prince is eighth on that list. Now, I’m not saying that Frank necessarily knew Prince could hit corner threes when he advocated his re-signing, but as one of the more intelligent players in the league, perhaps Frank was convinced that Prince would be receptive to stat-based philosophies, like why the corner three is actually a pretty high percentage shot, for example.