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Taurean Prince 2020-21 Season Review

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A forgotten mid-season pick-up with surprising upside 

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at San Antonio Spurs Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Remember our old pal Taurean Prince? As part of a 4-team trade with the Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers, the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired 27-year-old Forward Taurean Prince on January 13 along with young Center Jarrett Allen — it was the same deal that landed James Harden in Brooklyn.

Throughout the season, it was difficult to truly access Prince’s contributions as he, along with many of his teammates, were constantly in and out of the lineup dealing with injury. Prince, however — with his lanky frame and natural ability to create space — immediately stood out on the Cavs as much more than a trade throw-in, shooting 38% (42% from three) and scoring 10.1 points per game coming off the bench. In his 29 appearances with the Cavs, Prince saw improvements in his usage rate, assist percentage and three-point percentage. Adjusting for the extra point from three, Prince’s eFG% sat at 50.4% with the Cavs this season. For his size, Prince excels at the charity toss, shooting a respectable 85.1% from the line. These stats, among others, made Prince one of the team’s most consistent bench players this season.

Ace from the Corner
According to Cleaning the Glass, Prince ranks in the 87th percentile for forwards in 2020-21 (42.2%) on his long range shooting. The corner three is his sweet spot where he shoots 54%, or in the 96th percentile for forwards this season. While on the floor, the Cavs are +5.8 in points scored per 100 possessions.

On the Rebound
With a solid 6’11 ½ wingspan, one might assume that Prince could hold his own on the glass, but that simply was not the case, likely due to his fondness of the perimeter. Prince pulled down just 3.7 rebounds per game with Cleveland, well below average for his position.

The Highs
After his first game as a Cavalier — a match-up against his former team the Brooklyn Nets in January — Prince lauded the Cavs’ defense, short memory and the potential advantages of his veteran presence. Taurean scored 17 points in the double overtime victory while grabbing 7 rebounds and dishing out 4 assists.

Prince’s best game of the season, however, came on April 14 against the Charlotte Hornets. In the 103-90 road win, Prince put up a game-high 25 points in just 28 minutes. The big went 9 of 13 (69%) and 6 of 8 from three (75%). Check out the highlights:

Injuries and the Future
Prince dealt with a nagging ankle injury much of 2021 that eventually resulted in a season-ending surgery in late April. Prince will be playing on an expiring contract next season, becoming an Unrestricted Free Agent in 2022. Prince could become a valuable trade asset depending on who the Cavs select in this year’s draft. If the Cavs, however, manage to draft outside of the Forward/Wing position, Prince can provide solid contributions coming off the bench, that is if he can maintain his health.