In the 2016 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks selected Taurean Prince, Small Forward from the University of Baylor. Prince was selected by the Utah Jazz with the 12th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft. His rights were later traded to the Atlanta Hawks on July 7 in a three-team deal also involving the Indiana Pacers, in which Atlanta traded former All-Star point guard Jeff Teague. Before the season, many compared him to former Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll, (Currently starting for the Toronto Raptors) due to his potential defensively and brought another young offensive weapon to Coach Budenholzer’s system.
After receiving limited action in the first half of the season, Prince finished with a solid rookie campaign although he averaged (5.7) points per game, (2.7) rebounds per game, and an assist per game during the regular season. In the playoff series loss against the Wizards, Prince would be one of the biggest contributors as he posted (11.2) points per game, (5.3) rebounds per game, (1.3) assists per game and shot well over 50% throughout the series. Pretty good for a rookie in his first Playoffs, I’d say! Did I mention he was the first rookie to score 10 or more points in a playoff game as a starter since Pete Maravich?
As Kent Bazemore, Thabo Sefolosha, and Paul Millsap suffered injuries, Coach Bud finally gave the rookie an opportunity and he took full advantage of his minutes. Notably, On March 11, 2017, he had a then season-best 17 points in a 107–90 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. However, Prince’s breakout game was against the Boston Celtics on April 6th where he recorded a career high 20 points. including 16 in the first half alone, and added 7 rebounds and 4 assists as well. Prince displayed to a national TV audience and the True Believers that he could be a special player in the NBA for years ahead! Taurean Prince is gonna be a very great player in this league and we should all be excited on what he has to offer come next season.
Player Grade for Taurean Prince: B-