In the building where Tayshaun Prince committed his famous "block heard 'round the world" on Reggie Miller, the Palace Prince could only sit and watch as his Detroit Pistons fell 98-79 to the Indiana Pacers. It was a blowout loss, but the Pistons will get a pass from most fans. After all they were missing their starting small forward. Traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in a three-team trade with the Toronto Raptors, Tayshaun Prince spent his last game as a Detroit Piston sitting and waiting to find out when he'd be heading to Graceland.
With the current roster as fresh-faced as Tayshaun was 11 years ago, it was time for the lone remaining holdover from the 2004 team to move on. Since coming off the bench and shutting down Tracy McGrady in the first round of the 2003 Eastern Conference Playoffs
, Tayshaun symbolized everything Pistons fans loved about "Deeetroit Basketball
." A player who always made the most of his opportunity, Tayshaun should be remembered as a tireless worker, a masterful defender, an unselfish offensive weapon, a great teammate and most importantly, a champion. Whether or not that becomes Prince's legacy among Pistons fans remains to be seen.
Unlike the other four starters on the 2004 team, Tayshaun was the only member who seemed to overstay his welcome with Detroit
fans. As the other members of the 2004 team were either allowed to leave in free agency or traded away, Tayshaun was held onto by Joe Dumars like a prized jewel. Upset about the recent cellar dweller years, Pistons fans began to resent Tayshaun's presence. A constant reminder of what the Pistons used to be, and the symbol of frustration for those waiting for Ben Wallace, Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace and Rip Hamilton to come back through the Palace doors. Tayshaun became a "glue guy" on a team that many felt needed to be shook up, rather than held together with pieces of a once-great past.
Tayshaun talked during Wednesday night's post game about being the final member of the 2004 team as well as his attitude toward joining the Memphis Grizzlies:
"Being the last [member of the 2004 team] that's not that much significant in itself…We just thought we'd be together forever, it's just one of those things…Great memories, great times. Like I said, it's time to move into that next chapter. Hopefully, the guys that are going to Memphis can help them to continue to contend, be in the position that they are…We're gonna do our part."
Prince was still an effective player, the Pistons 17-29 record would be at least seven losses worse if he were not on the roster, but it was a trade that the Pistons needed to make for the future. As many fans cheer wildly for the cleared cap space that Tayshaun's leaving creates, the 11-year veteran won't leave Detroit
in dejection. Instead, Tayshaun will join the title contending Grizzlies the same way he joined the title contending Pistons of the past. Thankful for the opportunity, and ready to make the most of it.
Good luck, Tayshaun.
, Detroit Pistons
, Tayshaun Prince