Future Watch: Taurean Prince Rookie Basketball Cards, Hawks – Taurean Waller-Prince was born in San Marco, Texas. He started his high school career as a 5’8” point guard and graduated as a 6’7” center. In his senior season, he helped lead Earl Warren High in San Antonio, TX to the state semifinals. Prince initially chose to play college basketball for LIU-Brooklyn but switched to Baylor after a coaching change in Brooklyn.
In four seasons at Baylor, Taurean Prince developed into a solid NBA prospect. He played 24 games off the bench in his freshman season, averaging 3.7 points and 2.2 rebounds in 6.4 minutes per game. As a sophomore, Prince played in all of Baylor’s 38 games and averaged 6.2 points and 2.8 rebounds over 14.2 minutes per game. That year, he won the Big-12 Sixth Man award and earned All-Conference honors.
Prince’s numbers took a jump as a junior. He started in six of Baylor’s 33 games and averaged 13.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.5 steals over 26.3 minutes per game. He improved on all those numbers and solidified himself as an NBA draft pick in his senior season. That year he started all 34 games for the Bears and averaged 30.6 minutes per contest. His per game averages that season came out to 15.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals.
Standing a shade under 6’8” with a 6’11.5” wingspan, scouts saw Prince as a perfect wing for the modern NBA. He has enough strength to defend power forwards in smaller lineups and the speed to stay with guards on the perimeter. His 38% shooting rate from behind the arc in college was solid, and many evaluators thought his shooting mechanics would translate well to the NBA. Prince was selected 12th overall by the Utah Jazz in the 2016 NBA Draft. His rights were later traded to Atlanta on July 7th in a three-team deal involving Indiana.
In his rookie season for Atlanta, Prince played in 59 games for the Hawks with ten starts. He averaged 16.6 minutes per game and scored 5.7 points with 2.7 rebounds. His game elevated late in the season and he saw significant minutes for the Hawks in their first-round playoff match-up with the Wizards. In five games Prince averaged 31.2 minutes and scored 11.2 points with 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists. He became the first Hawks rookie to reach double figures in his first four playoff games since Pete Maravich in 1971.
Prince saw significant gains in 2017-18. He started in all 82 games for the Hawks and increased his numbers across the board. Over 30.0 minutes per game, he averaged 14.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.0 steals. His best game came against the Celtics on April 8th, the second to last game of the season. In that game, he played 39 minutes and scored 33 points, hit seven of eight shots from behind the arc, and added eight rebounds and five assists in the win.
Atlanta has a new coach and a new high-profile rookie heading into the 2018-19 season. The team probably won’t be back in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, but there is a plan for the future. It will be interesting to see how Prince fits with the team next season. For a good portion of 2017-18, he was a primary ball handler for much of the season. That should change this next year as Trae Young and a healthy Dennis Schroder will mostly split time at the point. Regardless, Prince can make an impact as a 3-and-D wing. He’ll see plenty of time on the court in many different lineup combinations. Collectors should expect Taurean Prince to be an integral part of Atlanta’s success as they work their way back to playoff relevance.
You can find Prince’s rookie cards among the entire 2016-17 Panini NBA catalog. His rookie cards are currently a great value, and there is a good chance they see an increase next season. Don’t miss out on this late-bloomer!
Future Watch: Taurean Prince Rookie Basketball Cards, Hawks – NBA Stats
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