Internal Improvement: Tayshaun Prince

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Tom Gores said it better happen. Jonas Jerebko guaranteed it. Rodney Stuckey agreed.

The Detroit Pistons can certainly make the playoffs this season, but given how similar the team is to last year’s, it won’t be easy. It appears the Pistons are mostly relying on internal improvement in order to exceed expectations and reach the postseason.

For our 2012 preview series, Patrick and I will each examine one area where we see realistic room for improvement from each Piston. Today, we look at Tayshaun Prince.

Offensive efficiency

Prince is one of the NBA’s smartest players, so If I were Lawrence Frank, I wouldn’t dare tell him to shoot less. That would be too insulting to a player of his caliber.

Instead, the message to Prince should be: Shoot more efficiently. Let him figure out how to do it.

There are typically two ways to raise efficiency – convert more of the shots you take or be more selective about the shots you take. If Prince can do the former, more power to him. But if he can’t, he should take fewer shots, limiting himself to the ones he’s more confident he’ll make.

With Greg Monroe emerging as an elite offensive player, Rodney Stuckey becoming more steady on that end and maybe even Brandon Knight learning how to play efficiently, there’s no need for the offense to run through Prince so often.

Prince shot 42 percent last season, not making many free throws or 3-pointers, while leading the team in shots. That shouldn’t be acceptable this year. — D.F.

Start better

If the Pistons are going to be competitive this season, they’ll have to avoid another disastrous start. That will be no easy task, considering their early schedule isn’t exactly friendly.

One way they can be better than they were after starting 4-20 last season is to get more from Prince early in the season. Prince shot 42 percent for the season, aided by a nice run in March where he shot 46 percent for the month. His first three months, though? He shot 40, 41 and 39 percent respectively. As Dan mentions above, his percentages will be better if he’s more selective in his shots. He’ll also shoot better if he’s asked to create shots for himself less. Regardless of how it happened last season, Prince shot way too poorly for a player with such a large role in the offense. If Prince struggles through another season like last season, the Pistons will not even be in the conversation for the eight seed. — P.H.

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Tags: Greg Monroe Rodney Stuckey Tayshaun Prince

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