Taurean Prince came into his third season in the NBA with much to prove. Although he is growing with this team, many fans wanted to see him make an even bigger jump this season. Injuries and trade rumors filled Taurean’s season, but he showed resilience and proved to be one of the Hawks best players this year. He was our go to guy on offense, one of our best 3 point shooters, and a leader in the locker room. Although he is still struggling to find his niche in the NBA, he definitely showed he belongs this year.
Prince played 55 out of 82 games this season after being hobbled with a severe ankle sprain. He started the season strong scoring over 20 points in 6 of his first 20 games. His 3 point shot was the strongest of his career, shooting 39% this season and had multiple games this year making 5 or more 3s. Unfortunately, a severe ankle sprain December 3 against the Warriors halted Prince’s amazing season and he was sidelined 17 straight games. Prince was slow to return and didn’t start getting his regular minutes until late in the season.
Prince’s season was full of ups and downs. He learned his game is best playing off the ball, especially when his shot gets going. We saw upside, like February 23 against Phoenix, where he had 21 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals, but then he had games struggling to score over 9 points or make any impact on the game, especially when facing strong defensive matchups. I don’t know if it was the severe ankle injury or bad play but Prince severely struggled to end the season. He sat out games, had some outlandish shooting nights and costly turnovers hurt us in key situations. Overall Prince had a solid season but it’s hard to judge it when you know he wasn’t 100%. We definitely saw potential and can only look forward to what he can do when healthy a full year.
Trade rumors filled most of the season as some Hawks fans rather trade Taurean and build for the future, but career highs and seeing the young Hawks grow together made those thoughts fade. Taurean shot less shots this year(10.8) but had a better field goal percentage(49%) and almost averaged his same points as last year(13.5). He is learning to make offense off the ball and the acquisition of rookie point guard phenom, Trae Young, definitely helped. He cut down on some of his offensive turnovers(1.8) and stepped up his defensive steals(1.1) with a smarter mindset.
With the Hawks set to draft a big name forward in the draft, we don’t know about Taurean’s future with the team. Drafting a big name forward, with our already crowded back court, might hurt his growth and minutes which is why most fans see a trade. He is not a lockdown defender, nor the fastest or biggest forward and can struggle to find his offense against elite defenders. Either way, we love Taurean with this team and hope he can play the last year of his rookie deal. If he’s not with us next year, his growth and skill showed he’ll be a solid player in this league for years to come.