Tayshaun Prince was once an NBA champion with the Detroit Pistons back in 2004. Prince did everything you would expect of a player excited to compete for a title. He played quality defense and was not selfish with the ball offensively. Prince played within the offensive system, and it went a long way for a team that did not have a superstar but instead had a lineup of good players that trusted each other to make the right play.
A player with that kind of experience does not come around every day, which is why Prince was a sought-after commodity for the Memphis Grizzlies despite being on the wrong side of his career.
Prince was able to step in and be a good player on a Grizzlies team that has been in the playoffs and has been a force in the regular season, but after the decline in his game last season, Prince can no longer be counted on to start for the Grizzlies, especially considering the talent that is behind him on the bench.
If the Grizzlies need a veteran to come in and take Prince’s place, the team should look no further than the player they just signed in the offseason, Vince Carter. Carter has been in many big games and has had big performances in those games too. Carter can still play solid enough defense to justify his being out on the court. Offensively, Carter has become a savvy veteran who is capable of finding the right man for a pass as well as be a reliable shooter from beyond the three point line. Carter can even still take it to the rack and create his own shot off the dribble, things that Prince is struggling to do in his older years.
If the team would want to go a younger direction, both Courtney Lee and Quincy Pondexter offer athleticism and three point shooting to go along with quality perimeter defense. Both players can heat up and be lethal from three, which is something that Prince has never exactly been able to do during his tenure in the NBA.
Prince has slowed down, which is something to be expected of an older player who has been in the league for quite sometime. Prince can still contribute defensively and is still a great voice to have on the court in pressure situations, but he can no longer be counted on in a starting role. The Grizzlies need to look to their other players to fill the starting small forward spot, and the sooner the team gets that figured out the better.