Tayshaun Prince, jack of all trades, even the ones he didn't necessarily want

In today’s column for the Free Press, I wrote about Tayshaun Prince and, specifically, how he was whatever the Pistons asked him to be, even when he didn’t really want to be those things:

Since 2009, it seems, the Pistons have been on a quest to find a replacement for Prince. That task shouldn’t be hard — Prince, though solid, is hardly a star. It’s not asking a lot for a young player to simply out-play him, and yet despite a steady stream of young players taken in the draft and capable of playing the small forward spot — Austin Daye, Jonas Jerebko, DaJuan Summers, Kyle Singler — no one has been able to surpass Prince’s modest production enough to take his job.

In that context, it’s easy to sympathize with Prince. He earned his way into a lineup, he had a solid career for some great Pistons teams and he’s held off yearly attempts to find younger replacements by simply being the consistently decent, durable player he has always been. Not only did he hold off the ‘competition’ from those players, he was also asked to serve a sort of mentor role to the very players the team was hoping would replace him in the lineup.

He was also asked to be a primary option on offense when he’d spent his entire career being a fourth or fifth option. The results weren’t pretty — no one enjoyed the ‘Isolayshaun’ offense — but Prince did the best he could. He worked for good shots and he rarely turned the ball over.


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