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2 Detroit Pistons A scrawny swingman must pick up where he left off in the playoffs

Oct. 27, 2003
Oct. 27, 2003

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Oct. 27, 2003

NBA Preview 2003-04
NBA Preview 2003-04: Scouting Reports
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2 Detroit Pistons A scrawny swingman must pick up where he left off in the playoffs

When Larry Brown replaced Rick Carlisle as coach of the Pistons
last summer, one of his first moves was to contact Tayshaun
Prince. "Get ready," Brown told the second-year forward, "to play
some major minutes." Those aren't the words usually heard by a
player who averaged 3.3 points and 1.1 rebounds as a rookie,
especially one who didn't even take off his warmups in 40 of 82
regular-season games.

This is an article from the Oct. 27, 2003 issue Original Layout

But Brown had vivid recollections of Prince's breakout
performance in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Having finally
cracked the rotation, Prince was indispensable in Detroit's
six-game victory over Brown's 76ers. While Prince averaged 13.0
points on a medley of long-range jumpers, twisting fadeaways and
nifty low-post moves, his versatility as a defender really caught
Brown's eye. Prince is 6'9" and a lithe 215 pounds, but his
wingspan is 7'2", enabling him to match up against opponents at
four positions. "There aren't many guys who can guard Tracy
McGrady in one series and Allen Iverson in the next," says Brown.
"What team wouldn't want to take advantage of a player like
that?"

Inspired by Prince's emergence, the Pistons traded forwards
Clifford Robinson and Michael Curry. Likewise the presence of the
Prince formerly known as DNP-CD made it easier for Detroit to
pass up forward Carmelo Anthony with the No. 2 pick and draft
7-foot Darko Milicic. "Even when I was on the bench, I always
knew I could play, so my confidence didn't really get low,"
Prince says. "As I get more experience, I think that I can be a
top player in this league."

If his grasp comes anywhere close to equaling his prodigious
reach, he may well be right. --L.J.W.

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN BIEVER Tayshaun PrinceCOLOR PHOTO: JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (WALLACE) BIG BENEFIT The tenacious Wallace gives Detroit another option in the middle if the other centers don't come through.

ENEMY LINES
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Pistons

"This is a true team with depth at every position--but when all is
said and done, I don't see the Pistons getting past New Jersey in
the East.... It was mind-boggling when management decided that
Rick Carlisle couldn't take them to the next level after he got
the most out of this team in the last two years. At least Larry
Brown is the one guy who could replace a highly successful coach
and still get the players to listen and believe.... Rick and
Larry have a lot in common, beginning with their commitment to
defense. I can see Larry making a couple of minor changes: He'll
let them freelance in their early offense a little more than Rick
did, and he'll do more to establish Richard Hamilton as a go-to
scorer by setting screens and posting him up against smaller
guards. The one thing they might miss is Carlisle's energy. At 63
Larry will be trying to win NBA and Olympic championships
back-to-back without a break over the next 11 months.... They're
hoping to solve their big weakness--rebounding--with Darko
Milicic, but he's an 18-year-old who has to adapt to a new
language, a new culture and a coach who runs a ton of stuff. I'll
be surprised if he doesn't develop paralysis by analysis....
Overall the center position is a strength for them in the East,
though I don't understand why they gave 35-year-old Elden
Campbell a big contract [two years, $8.4 million] to be their
starter. He all but vanished last year with New Orleans and
Seattle. At least they can use Ben Wallace at center, and Mehmet
Okur can help out. When Okur learns to draw the double team,
he'll become dangerous because he's a good passer.... Though
Chauncey Billups is a clutch shooter and a winner, I don't see
him as a bona fide point guard. Still, he's the kind of guy who
improves as he gets more opportunities."

FAST FACT
By winning all eight overtime games they played, the Pistons set
a season record for most victories without a defeat in
OT.

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP with 2002-03 statistics

Record: 50-32 (1st in East)
Points scored: 91.4 (26th in NBA)
Points allowed: 87.7 (1st)
Coach: Larry Brown
(first season with Pistons)

ELDEN CAMPBELL[1]

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG
C 151 6.1 3.2 0.9

BPG SPG FG% FT%
0.70 0.59 39.7 80.1

TAYSHAUN PRINCE

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG
SF 75 3.3 1.1 0.6

BPG SPG FG% 3FG%
0.33 0.24 44.9 42.6

CHAUNCEY BILLUPS

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG
PG 64 16.2 3.7 3.9

SPG FG% 3FG% FT%
0.85 42.1 39.2 87.8

RICHARD HAMILTON

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG
SG 35 19.7 3.9 2.5

SPG FG% 3FG% FT%
0.78 44.3 26.9 83.3

BEN WALLACE

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG
PF 27 6.9 15.4 1.6

BPG SPG FG% FT%
3.15 1.42 48.1 45.0

BENCH PVR* 2002-03 KEY STATS

F CORLISS
WILLIAMSON 149 12.0 ppg 4.4 rpg 1.3 apg 0.54 spg 45.3 FG%
F-C MEHMET
OKUR 170 6.9 ppg 4.7 rpg 1.0 apg 42.6 FG% 33.9 3FG%
F[1] DARKO
MILICIC (R) 200 9.5 ppg 4.6 rpg 0.8 apg 47.6 FG% 67.6 FT%
G BOBBY
SURA 210 7.3 ppg 3.0 rpg 3.2 apg 0.82 spg 41.2 FG%
G CHUCKY
ATKINS 233 7.1 ppg 2.7 apg 0.42 spg 36.1 FG% 35.5 3FG%

NEW ACQUISITION[1]
(R) Rookie (Yugoslavian League statistics)
*PVR: Player Value Ranking (explanation on page 94)