|"Dude, why?" (Getty Images)|
Two years ago, the Pistons' organization was outright embarrassed by a player mutiny that occurred when veteran players -- not the young guys, but the established veterans -- openly no-showed a practice in defiance of coach John Kuester.
In the end, Kuester wound up getting the axe as a result of the team's awfulness and the ugliness of the situation. He was certainly responsible for a huge portion of the disaster, but the players were also part of the problem. As a result, many of the players were purged from the roster. Rip Hamilton was particularly in conflict with Kuester due to his ongoing angst over wanting a buyout for the full amount of his contract.
Tayshaun Prince, though, wasn't purged. He was re-signed, for a hefty deal for a player of his age. There was a lot of speculation that while management was ready to go in a different direction, coach Lawrence Frank adamantly wanted Prince's skill set and veteran leadership.
Well, he's got it. Following the Pistons' loss on Wednesday to the Magic, Tayshaun decided to impart some of that veteran leadership, by openly questioning his coach's decisions.
Energy ain't the only thing," said Prince, noting the poor possessions to begin quarters that plague this team. "That isn't my decision but we need to figure out some things to do when teams are making runs to get us a good opportunity at the rim or the foul line."
Prince wished all five players hadn't been subbed en masse, considering it puts the second unit in an unfamiliar position to come in cold against a team riding the wave of momentum. But how many times at the NBA level has such a drastic act worked to the tune of a win?
"If I was Coach, I would've made a decision sooner than he did," Prince said. "A 6-0 run, call a timeout. Bam-bam, we come back out, nothing happens, bam (make a substitution). If you gotta make a choice, you have to make a choice. (He) went too long."
So now, then, we reach an interesting philosophical divide.
Does Prince have the right to question his coach's decisions after another embarassing loss with the team 2-10? After all, the players bear the brunt of the criticism for their play; shouldn't the coach be looked at as the potential source of the problem?
Or should Prince, you know, not openly question his coach, fueling speculation that Frank has lost the locker room and making his job that much harder? Is veteran leadership providing a schism in the locker room when things are tough?
The answer to that reveals a lot about your opinions towards coaches and players, but the result is the same. It doesn't help anything. He might have the right to do it, but that doesn't mean it helps anything. Instad, the situation gets worse. Will a change in coach right the ship, get the players engaged?
What about the fact that so many players from that team that revolted are still here and now seem to be questioning this coach as well? If the veteran leadership chews through two coaches in three years, is it really wise to keep saying coaches aren't able to get players to buy in? Or do you have to wonder how much guys are willing to buy in in the first place. For now, word is that Frank's job is safe, but how long can that last? He certainly bears as much responsibility for the disaster as anyone. It's just whether the "leaders" on that team should be saying it.
Things are ugly and getting uglier in Detroit.