Friday, May 6, 2011

A Princely Decision

For much of the 2000s, the Detroit Pistons core of Billips, the Wallaces, Prince and Hamilton formed a roadblock for anybody wanting to make it out of the East. However, like many great teams from the 2000s, they have faded from being a legitimate contender for the title (see: San Antonio Spurs), and are looking to be joined by the Lakers sooner than expected it seems. Since the glory days, Billups has been moved around to two teams and is ageing at a lot faster than expected, Rasheed Wallace has retired, Ben Wallace is no longer relevant, Hamilton has been ineffective and the Pistons themselves are in the midst of a rebuilding process, with the likes of Greg Monroe, Jonas Jerebko, Austin Daye and Rodney Stuckey forming the team of the future in Detroit. But what of Tayshaun Prince?

Barring maybe Chauncey Billups, Prince has arguably the most life left in him at age 31, averaging 14, 4, and 2 in 32mpg and shooting just under 50% from the field in 2010-2011. Now a free agent, could be the difference for a team looking to make a quick rise up the rankings who need just one more solid piece to reach the playoffs and put a scare into a top seed. If he could be had for a reasonable price, Prince's decision of where to play could save a floundering franchise in need of veteran leadership and D. It's been suggested that he might end up in Dallas, likely coming off the bench behind Marion, but after all too much time spent on the bench this season, I feel that Prince will go somewhere he'll be apprectiated.

Now, there are a number of teams who could use a savvy vet at the SF to steady their young talent and who need to make a splash this season; the Clippers could use a mentor for Aminu until he's ready to start, Toronto needs a veteran to bring defensive toughness, Minnesota could use the calming influence of Prince to mentor Beasley and hopefully bring out his vast potential, the Kings need to prove they can make playoffs either this season or next or they are most likely leaving Sactown. Clearly, there are a lot of viable options for Tayshaun.

However, after reading a recent interview on SLAMonline with Deron Williams saying they needed to bring in some heady vets, it became apparent that Prince and the Nets would be a perfect fit. The clock is ticking for the Nets to satisfy Williams after their all-in trade which left them without their starting PG in Harris and the potential-laden Derrick Favors. If D-Will leaves, it might squash any hope for the Nets to make the playoffs in the next five years, let alone win a chip.

Prince would certainly help alleviate some stress; he would allow Outlaw to be a more productive (albeit overpaid) bench player, whilst bringing a still very capable defender to fit in with Coach Avery Johnson's demands for lock-down D.

With an owner who isn't afraid to spend a little cash, with some wise off-season moves, the Nets could be in a great position, as a lot of players have expressed interest in playing in Brooklyn when the move is finally made.

Let's assume that Mikhail splashes out to bring in Prince for say a three year deal, and resigns the surprisingly productive Kris Humphries, both achievable goals. The Nets will look something like this;

PG - Deron Williams
SG - Anthony Morrow
SF - Tayshaun Prince/Travis Outlaw
PF - Humphries/Damion James
C - Brook Lopez

Are you telling me that 7 man rotation couldn't nab a playoff spot in the East with Avery Johnson at the helm? Forget about it. For a "has been", with a change of scenery Prince could be relevant on a whole new level.

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