To say the Brooklyn Nets revamped their roster this summer would be an understatement. Aside from the Los Angeles Clippers, the Nets probably pulled off the biggest moves of free agency with the additions of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan.
Last season, the team was focused on making the playoffs and just going from there. But this upcoming season, even with Durant potentially out for the entire year, it’s clear that they have much bigger aspirations now.
However, with every championship-caliber team, you need additional pieces to surround your star players. Every roster needs some solid role players who can do their job and contribute to the success of the team.
Before the free agency period began, the Nets made a trade with the Atlanta Hawks back in early June in which they acquired Taurean Prince and a 2021 second-round pick in exchange for Allen Crabbe, the 17th overall pick, which became Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and a 2020 first-round pick.
A lottery pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Prince had a solid first three seasons in the NBA with the Hawks. He played occasionally in his rookie season but he was a starter by his second season and looked like a potential building block for Atlanta’s future.
Prince had developed a fondness there, which is why he was a bit taken back when the trade occurred. But he understood that the NBA is a business and he’s looking forward to this new chapter in Brooklyn.
“It was a bittersweet situation, just because Atlanta is such a great organization,” Prince told Basketball Insiders. “But I knew I was going to another great organization so it kind of worked out well for me.”
Since he’s been in the league, Prince has established himself as a solid perimeter scorer who is also one of the better three-point shooting wings in the NBA. His primary position is small forward, but he can play power forward in small-ball lineups.
During the 2017-18 season, his second in the NBA, he put up 14.1 points per game and shot 38.5 percent from the three-point line. This past season, he was limited to only 55 games due to injury, but he still averaged 13.5 points per game and shot a career-high 39.0 percent from three-point range.
With Durant out and the recent suspension of Wilson Chandler, the minutes appear to be there for the taking for Prince to start the season. He’s confident in what he can bring to the Nets.
“Versatility, great leadership and great character. I’m someone who wants to win more than they want to score,” Prince told Basketball Insiders. “My big thing is getting to the playoffs and being able to play in those type of opportunities and environment.”
Durant, Irving and Jordan weren’t the only free-agent additions the Nets made. Along with the aforementioned Chandler, they also signed Garrett Temple and David Nwaba, two role players who can definitely contribute this upcoming season.
This summer has shown beyond a doubt that Brooklyn isn’t satisfied with simply making the playoffs as they did this past season. They’re focusing on a much bigger picture.
While the Prince trade wasn’t made official until after free agency began, it was agreed upon before that meaning he was traded to the Nets prior to all their free-agent acquisitions. Once they made their big moves, Prince could see a team that is capable of playing at a high level for years to come.
“It’s another great opportunity, it’s more eyes,” Prince told Basketball Insiders. “It’s a great chance to go to the playoffs for as long as we want. To play basketball at the highest level against the highest competition.”
And while he did have some fond memories in Atlanta, being that he started his career there, Prince isn’t going to dwell on the past so much. He’s eager to get to work in Brooklyn and get focused on this new opportunity.
“I’m big on knowing that everything that starts must come to an end in some way, shape or form,” Prince told Basketball Insiders. “I don’t really dwell on anything that could’ve been. I just got to continue to look forward and just continue to push.”
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