Until a few months ago, Tayshaun Prince had spent his entire pro career in Detroit. He was a reliable NBA veteran who fit comfortably in the Pistons’ offense. Over the past few years, the Pistons have been rebuilding and Prince’s relevance had kind of faded. That all ended when he was traded to Memphis. ESPN’s Justin Verrier has a lengthy profile of Prince, which describes how he helped the Grizzlies become a playoff team by providing an invaluable veteran presence and defensive energy:
Although stoic and shy, Prince didn’t hesitate to speak up, either. After Zach Randolph went off in the Grizzlies’ clinching Game 6 against the Los Angeles Clippers, entangling Blake Griffin and then smushing him, all while attempting to convey innocence every step of the way, Prince was the one in his ear trying to talk him down. Playing peacemaker comes naturally after six years with Rasheed Wallace.
“We knew Tayshaun when we acquired him,” Allen said. “We knew what his rÃ©sumÃ© was. When he got in here talkin’ what he was talkin’, our antennas was up.”
Tayshaun’s teammates say that being on a playoff team has rejuvenated the NBA vet, especially defensively. With Prince in the starting lineup, the Grizzlies’ defensive rating is second best among lineups with 50 minutes or more of playing time, and he’s averaging 33 minutes a game. While his offensive stats have dipped a bit since his days in Detroit, he’s filling a void the Grizzlies so desperately need. Plus, he’s having fun:
“This is an exciting time and a new chapter, in basketball and all different aspects,” he said. “I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
Get ’em, Tay.