Auburn Hills — Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy is leaning toward starting Tayshaun Prince at small forward during his return game Tuesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers at The Palace.
Prince returned to the Pistons officially Sunday after he was traded to the team from Boston. He would replace Caron Butler, who started the last two games when Kyle Singler was traded last week to Oklahoma City.
His first assignment could be guarding All-Star LeBron James, who has led a Cavs' resurgence.
One of the deciding factors is Van Gundy would rather have two guys with limited knowledge of team sets in the starting unit, rather than have one limited player as a starter and another coming off the bench. Point guard Reggie Jackson will play in just his second game against the Cavs after coming over from the Thunder.
"His length is really good for us," Van Gundy said of Prince. "We come off the bench with more guys who know more stuff and we can do more things, which is almost more important. He was also playing well in Boston."
Prince averaged 8.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals in nine game coming off the bench for the Celtics. He also shot 55.9 percent from the field and made 62.5 percent of his three-point attempts.
Butler took the possible demotion in stride.
"It is what it is. That is a coach's decision," Butler said. "I am ready to play. I always am. I have played behind Kyle, had spot minutes. I know what I am capable of doing."
Van Gundy also said he might play Prince at power forward against smaller teams.