In Appreciation of Tayshaun Prince

Tayshaun Prince is one of my favorite NBA players. Right up there near the very top of the list. (I have written about this before.) So I was especially ready to receive this e-mail from TrueHoop reader Brad.

Tayshaun Prince may be one of the most undervalued players around, even by fans of the team.

I have always thought that Tayshaun was capable of putting up bigger numbers if that was his goal, but he seemed just as comfortable letting his teammates takeTayshaun Prince the spotlight as long as the team was successful. I think so far this year (and in particular, the November 5 game against Toronto), the thing that has stood out most to me about Tayshaun Prince is that he is whatever the team needs him to be.

In this particular game, Billups and McDyess were gone, and Allen Iverson hadn't arrived yet; it was the perfect setup for the team to drop a game, and no one would have blamed them for being distracted. After a pretty even first quarter, Tayshaun hit four of five shots in both the second and third quarters and really gave the Pistons a lift. He quietly carries that team when they need him to (the guy has played in every single game since his rookie season, and that's when Rick Carlisle found out how effective he could be as he shut down T-Mac to lift the Pistons out of a 3-1 hole against Orlando in the playoffs).

I think some of the most impressive aspects of his game are the things that don't show up on SportsCenter. That game he finished with nine rebounds, two blocks and a steal, but no fouls or turnovers. He was very involved on both ends of the floor for the 39 minutes he played, and it's tough to find a single play where he had a negative impact on the team. And that's pretty common for him.

I think it's pretty impressive for him to be known as such a solid defensive player and average less than one and a half fouls per game. He plays smart, he's always talking to his teammates, and his fast break alley-oop dunks are about as flashy as he gets. I really enjoy watching him play, and I would love to see him stick with Detroit his entire career. I don't know if there's a GM out there that would appreciate his contributions as much as Joe D. I'm sure there are a lot of people out there that feel this way about a certain player on the team that they get to watch on a regular basis, but I will still always think that Tayshaun is one of a kind.

(Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)