The Jazz selected Baylor forward Taurean Prince with the No. 12 pick in the 2016 NBA draft on Thursday night at the Barclays Center. They are set to trade Prince to the Hawks as part of the three-team trade that also involves Hawks point guard Jeff Teague going to the Pacers.
Prince enters the NBA after four seasons at Baylor, where he emerged as a true top prospect after becoming a full–time starter as a senior. Prince was an unheralded recruit coming out of high school, but he steadily improved his production each year in Waco, ultimately averaging 15.9 points and 6.1 rebounds in 30.6 minutes as a senior.
During his senior season, Prince led the team in scoring and ranked second in rebounds and steals. He also showed improvement as a passer.
Strengths: Prince’s combination of length and outside shooting makes him a perfect, modern 3-and-D prospect. He possesses the length NBA scouts are looking for on the wing (6’11.5” wingspan) and was a career 37.6% three-point shooter at Baylor. He rebounds well for his position, and did show an improved passing ability this season, having doubled his assists numbers from his junior campaign.
Weaknesses: You cannot ask Prince to create any offense with his ballhandling. At this stage of his career, Prince will primarily be a catch-and-shoot wing, which should benefit both him and his team. Prince often exhibited a poor shot selection at Baylor. He forced a ton of drives into traffic, often trying to outmuscle opponents en route to the rim. And that simply won’t fly in the NBA at all. Prince tended to drift in and out of games throughout his career, especially when Baylor went through long stretches of zone defense. That factor makes it difficult to truly rate him as an individual defender.
Grade: B+. The Hawks acquired this pick in the Jeff Teague trade Wednesday and reportedly coveted Prince, who immediately fills a hole on the wing as a delayed replacement for DeMarre Carroll. He’s a jack of all trades, master of none, but that should be a positive as he slides into Atlanta’s ball movement-heavy system. There weren’t a ton of pro-ready two-way wings in the draft, and the Hawks were decisive and got their guy. You do wonder, though, if he’d have been available later in the draft. — Jeremy Woo