Last night, before I fell asleep watching the first half of the Golden St. Warriors
shellacking of narrow victory over the Pistons, I tuned in to watch an episode of “Pistons: In Focus” because, frankly, I love watching highlights of past playoff series when the homes teams are involved. (Big reverse shout-out here to Brighthouse Networks for not carrying ESPN Classic.)
The highlighted series, in this case, was the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals between the Indiana Pacers and your Detroit Pistons, a series forever known for its lack of scoring and ugly basketball.
With the impetus put on referee’s in today’s game to call the game tight to spur offense, it’s easy to forget just how unwatchable that series was. To wit: the final score of the clinching game was Pistons 69, Pacers 65. And, yes, they still played four quarters back then.
But that’s not what stood out.
At one point during the episode, they showed Ben Wallace complaining to the referee about a missed call, during the flow of the game. He had both arms outstretched, pointing to a point on the court where the supposed infraction took place, while Jeff Foster escaped with the ball and dribbled up court.
Suddenly, I remembered why that team was so hard to watch, even when they were winning: they bitched a lot.
Fast forward to last night’s game.
As PistonPowered reports, during the second quarter, Tayshaun Prince and head coach John Kuester went at it in the huddle when there was an apparent disagreement about Prince’s play (or lack thereof) up until that point. Prince sulked to the end of the bench and placed a towel over his head as a very mature way of showing his displeasure at his head coach.
The problem here is that Prince came of age on those great teams of the early 2000′s that went to six consecutive Eastern Conference Finals.
The same team that let it be known they couldn’t succeed with Rick Carlisle.
The same team that banded together to oust Flip Saunders.
The same team that quit on Michael Curry.
For all of the accolades associated with the team that delivered a championship in 2004, they were nothing, if not juvenile, when it came to not getting their way, whether it was a bad call or perceived bad decision by the coach. And we are seeing it happen again in Prince.
For the entire duration of his time in the NBA, Prince has been taught that it is never his fault; never him that screwed up. There is always somebody else to blame.
But for this team to succeed on the court, Tayshaun can no longer be a part of it. His negative influence is starting to creep inside of impressionable guys like Stuckey, and this franchise cannot afford to let that happen.
Prince had a hell of a run as a Piston. And without his block of Reggie Miller’s lay-up in the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals, the Pistons’ championship drought might still be 20 years and counting. But enough is enough.
Tayshaun Prince must go.