The NBA Playoffs are in full swing, but if you look into the abyss, the 2016 NBA Draft is coming. The draft is only seven weeks away at the time of this post, and while it is (still) too early to get super bogged down in the process, an interesting name has surfaced with regard to the Atlanta Hawks and their first-round selection.
Sam Vecenie of CBS Sports released a mock draft earlier this week, and he slotted Baylor forward Taurean Prince to the Hawks with the 21st pick. Here is what he had to say about the fit:
With Al Horford and Kent Bazemore free agents, it makes sense to take a versatile frontcourt player like Prince who could help them in more ways than one early on. Prince is a tough, long player who likely fits best at the 3 in the NBA due to his shooting and defense, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see him play some small ball 4 like he did in college for Baylor. He'll have a bit of a defensive adjustment from the Baylor zone, but he's got a real shot as a 3-and-D type.
3-and-D wings are increasingly valuable in today's game, and with the thought that Prince could play effectively as a small-ball 4 in the NBA, his stock could theoretically rise. Just one day after Vecenie released his mock, his colleague, Gary Parrish, also projected Prince as a potential fit for Atlanta:
Prince is a 6-8 wing who can make 3-pointers, and his wingspan and athleticism are such that guarding his position, and even multiple positions, at the NBA level should not be an issue. It's also worth noting that he's an 82 percent free-throw shooter. And Prince is an above-average rebounder for his position, too. So he can do a lot of different things to contribute while on the court.
Prince knocked down 36.1% of his threes during his final year at Baylor, but during his junior campaign, that number swelled to 39.5% on nearly five attempts per game. Again, it is way too early to actually begin salivating over fit and particular prospects, but Prince is a versatile and talented player that would appear to slot in well under Mike Budenholzer. As such, this doesn't seem crazy at all.