Lately it has seemed as if Tayshaun Prince were no longer on the Detroit Pistons.
All the talk is about F/C Greg Monroe, or Andre Drummond, this year’s first round draft choice. Rodney Stuckey takes up a fair amount of the Pistons conversation, just like Brandon Knight, Charlie Villanueva, and the man who will always be a Piston, but may not be one this season, Ben Wallace.
None of the talk seems to be about Prince, unless it is a brief mention when discussing roster space or possible bench rotations. NBA Rumors asks why is Tayshaun being omitted from the conversation, and is this a sign of things to come in Detroit?
At 32-years old, Prince is the last member left of the 2004 NBA Championship team. At the time, he was the youngest player in the starting lineup, and over the years he has come to work and done his job, game after game, season after season. He has survived the dismantling of his winning squad, welcomed new teammates, and wished them luck as they left town again. He gutted it out as the Pistons began to rebuild, even after a miserable start to the 2011-12 season with the team around him looking nothing like what he used to know.
Prince kept coming in and doing his job, and he has done well enough to have been ranked #144 in ESPN’s #NBArank 2012.
Now Prince can look around and see a team with promise. The new look Pistons are young, athletic, full of potential and hungry. They want to taste success, just as Prince did for so many years. With a rising star like Monroe, it may not take much longer.
The question is: Will Prince still be a part of the team when the Pistons get back to the upper ranks of the Eastern Conference?
Considering how many starters there are in the entire league, a rank of 144 just barely keeps Tayshaun off of the bench (30×5=150), at least in ESPN’s opinion.
Last season Prince looked like he had lost a step, and with so many talented up-and-comers on the Pistons roster, how long will it be before Head Coach Lawrence Frank will ask the veteran to come off of the bench? When the time comes, will Prince accept the new role?
It is hard to imagine the team without the lanky small forward, but if he refuses to contribute from the bench, a la Allen Iverson, Piston’s President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars has shown he will make the tough decision and send a fan favorite elsewhere for the betterment of the team.
These are all thoughts and questions to keep in mind as training camp begins on October 2nd. Prince has been a major part of who the Pistons have been over the last decade, but Frank has already stated nothing will be given to last year’s starters coming into this season. Whether this announcement includes the NBA Champion Prince or not will remain to be seen…at least for another few weeks.
Jeff Everette is a Featured Columnist for RantSports.com, covering the NFL and NBA. Follow Jeff on twitter @jeverettesports, like his page on FaceBook, or add his Google + to your circles for all of his latest articles, thoughts, and rants.