Tayshaun Prince Needs to Play Smaller Role in Memphis Grizzlies’ Offense
Tayshaun Prince came to the Memphis Grizzlies from the Detroit Pistons at the NBA Trade Deadline last season in the three-team deal that sent Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors. Prince obviously isn’t the player that Gay is, but he saved the Grizzlies a great deal of money and helped fit into their defensive-minded approach.
In the 37 games that Prince played for Memphis last season, he was a solid contributor to their defense. Off of the wing he averaged a respectable 4.2 rebounds in 31.7 minutes per game. More than that, though, he allowed only 0.83 points per possession defensively, ranking 107th in the league, forcing opponents to shoot just 36.8 percent against him, including holding spot-up shooters to just 0.88 points per possession on just 36.9 percent shooting.
Offensively was a different story for Prince with the Grizzlies, though. He averaged just 8.8 points per game in his time with Memphis last year. Prince also posted a true shooting percentage of only 46.1 percent, well below what you would want from a starting small forward, even with him shooting 36.6 percent from three.
Last season in Memphis, 28.8 percent of Prince’s possessions were in spot-up opportunities. However, Prince averaged only 0.78 points per possession in those sets, ranking a mere 295th in the league in that area, while also shooting just 34.7 percent from the field on spot-up opportunities.
If Prince is open on a spot-up shot, of course Memphis is going to get him the ball, but he definitely shouldn’t be as frequent of an option as he was last season. His numbers on that end of the floor have been noticeably declining over recent seasons and, as Prince is 33 years old, probably will only continue to slide.
Prince’s presence will undoubtedly be felt this season because of what he brings to the table defensively and the veteran toughness that fits in with this particular team. However, with better, more efficient offensive options now on their roster in guys like Mike Miller, don’t expect Prince to have as large of a role in the Grizzlies’ offense this year.
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