With the pick they reportedly acquired from Utah in Wednesday’s three-team swap that sent George Hill to the Jazz and Jeff Teague to Indiana, the Hawks have selected Baylor forward Taurean Prince in a minor surprise. Because the trade cannot become official until July when team cap space rolls into the new fiscal year, the Jazz technically “made” the selection. Barring some strange hurdle, Prince will belong to Atlanta.
Based on subsequent reporting, there’s a chance Prince doesn’t stay in town long – there have been reports that the Hawks would be looking to package this pick and their 21st pick in exchange for a veteran to help woo Al Horford into returning as a free agent.
Should Prince remain in Atlanta, though, the Hawks get an intriguing prospect who could play a versatile role for them moving forward. Prince has the physical profile to be something of a tweener forward in the NBA, strong enough to check bigger power forwards but likely mobile enough to defend on the perimeter as well. There will be concerns about how far along his game already is, given that he’ll turn 22 before the NBA season begins next year.
Prince’s eventual ceiling in the NBA, like so many other guys toggling between forward positions with good build and athleticism, will be his shooting. He connected on a solid percentage from three during his four-year career at Baylor, though not quite elite enough to be sure it can translate at the NBA level. He’ll need it, too – he isn’t much of a creator or a dribbler, and it’s unlikely he improves a ton here over the course of his career given his age.
If his skill set pans out, he could be another versatile piece for Atlanta as they keep a flexible approach moving forward. He could pan out in the “3 and D” mold pretty easily, though this feels like perhaps a bit of a reach for the Hawks just for that category of player.
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