Tayshaun Prince's quiet improvement

Me writing for the Detroit Free Press:

Statistically, Prince’s numbers are notably up in a few key areas. After having a bad year shooting the ball last season (42%), he’s making 47% of his shots this season. He’s also making 46%of his 3-pointers this season – 10% better than his career average. He’s getting to the line a bit more than he did last season and, when there, he’s hitting 82% of his free throws, which would also be a career high. His offensive rating (points scored per 100 possessions) is up to a 109 after it dipped to a 101 last season. His usage rate down two percent from last season as well.

The most significant differences for Prince this season are not statistical ones, however. He looks more like his old self — he’s passing the ball more, he’s cutting more, he’s running the floor more and he’s bogging the offense down in isolation possessions where no one else touches the ball much less. In fact, those types of possessions, which were a staple of the Kuester era and very common last season under Lawrence Frank, are almost non-existent at this point.

I don’t know of many people who enjoyed watching Prince as the focal point of the Pistons offense the last few seasons. I also don’t know of many fans — myself included — who thought he’d willingly just go back to being more of a complementary player in the offense, but that has exactly what has happened. For better or worse, he’s allowed Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe sink or swim (and man, have they sunk at times) as the primary offensive options. I still remain pretty adamant that Prince would be a better fit elsewhere, helping a contending team, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how willingly he’s adapted to a changed role this season.

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