Atlanta Hawks 2017-18 Season Review: Taurean Prince

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 1: Taurean Prince
MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 1: Taurean Prince /

Taurean Prince has become one of the more important pieces to the Atlanta Hawks rebuild and had one of the better seasons to show for it.

After being picked 12th overall in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz, Prince was traded on draft night to the Hawks in a three team deal involving Jeff Teague and George Hill. It was a great long term move for the team as we got a young piece and got rid of a memorable veteran before they left for nothing. From his near 7 foot wingspan to surprisingly impressive ability to stroke it from deep, Prince put himself into near untouchable territory in terms of stability on the roster this season.

After an up and down first year, Taurean blossomed in his sophomore season starting all 82 games while averaging 14.1 points per game, 4.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists with a steal and half a block to go with it.

He played over 1400 more minutes this season while increasing his efficiency in almost every category. One underrated aspect of Prince’s season was his killer instinct in certain games.

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Yes, winning wasn’t the most important thing this season, so he was given more leeway to shoot recklessly, but his ability to hit clutch shots and go on scoring binges is a resource the Atlanta Hawks have been lacking for quite some time.

One of the more memorable parts of his season was his little encounter with fellow young wing Josh Jackson. After some pushing and shoving subsided, Prince proceeded to hit the game winner just a couple minutes later. With that kind of attitude, Prince can make himself a leader around the locker room.

His true shooting percentage increased from 51% to 54% along with his usage jumping from 17% to 22% and 11% more of his shots came from 3 this year compared to last year. Being able to become more efficient while taking on a much heavier load is extremely promising for a wing player like Taurean.

Although there were very few things for Hawks fans to get excited about in terms of winning games, the growth of Taurean is something worth its weight in gold.

He showed flashes in his rookie season but really didn’t start putting it together until the playoffs during the 2016-17 campaign. This season, Prince put on some dazzling performances starting with his late Christmas gift against Toronto. On December 29th, Prince put up 30 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 12 of 16 from the field and 5 made threes.

Must Read: Is Taurean Prince the Best Player on the Hawks?

This performance was a preview of things to come as Taurean went on an absolute tear to end the season. He had 38, 7 and 6 against Chicago on March 11th, added on another 38 against Milwaukee on the 17th, 28 against Houston on the 25th then had 33 and 27 on April 8th and 10th to finish out the season. For those of you keeping count, Prince averaged 21 PPG over the final two months of the season which is some outstanding performance for a hopeful building block.

This has nothing to do with his season in terms of basketball, but Taurean recently wrote a great piece on the Players’ Tribune talking about how he struggled with homelessness early in his life and how he worked through it and got to where he is today.

Its pretty obvious that Prince has made himself a force to be reckoned with going into next season. He’s still on his rookie contract for quite some time, and even if he wasn’t, Travis Schlenk wouldn’t let him go.

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Atlanta fans should be very optimistic about what they’ve seen in terms of growth from Taurean, and if we continue to fill out our roster with length and shooting such as The Prince That Was Promised, we’ll be looking at postseason basketball sooner rather than later.