Cleveland Cavaliers: Taurean Prince is feeling it as shooter

Cleveland Cavaliers wing/forward Taurean Prince reacts in-game. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers wing/forward Taurean Prince reacts in-game. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

Taurean Prince had played very well earlier on after being acquired via trade from the Brooklyn Nets by the Cleveland Cavaliers along with Jarrett Allen, and then Prince it appeared seemed somewhat out of sorts.

With him likely still adjusting, and the Cavaliers having their share of wings, though, that was understandable. Unfortunately for Prince, the injury bug would then start to hit him.

Prince would miss a four-game slate because of an ankle injury, then briefly came back in a win over the Houston Rockets, but then was sidelined shortly thereafter due to that issue.

He’d then be sidelined for two more ensuing games, came back in a loss versus the Indiana Pacers before the All-Star break on March 3, and unfortunately would miss the first 10 games post-All-Star. That was in relation to a shoulder injury.

Prince has made his return since, fortunately, and he’s made an impact as a reserve scorer.

After two rough outings in his first two games back from being sidelined, which were understandable, frankly, Prince has had three instances where he’s had season-highs.

That was first at the Miami Heat on April 3, when he had 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting, then had 14 points in a W at the San Antonio Spurs, and had 22 points at the Oklahoma City Thunder in a W, and on Wednesday, he was even more so on-point. In that one, Prince again, as noted, had his latest highest-point output with Cleveland with 25 points, and was a scorching 6-of-8 from three-point land.

It looks as if Taurean has it rolling, which has been good to see, and also for Cleveland’s key playmakers, such as Darius Garland and Matthew Dellavedova, for instance.

Prince is feeling it as a shooter that’s playing with a ton of confidence for the Cavs.

Prince has looked rejuvenated as of late, and it’s given the Cavaliers some juice in his burn for them, and has provided a crucial on-ball scoring presence for the reserves. He looks much healthier, which has been paying off to a large extent.

We didn’t see it to nearly the same extent in the Wine and Gold’s fairly rough outing against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday, which, even with them on the second leg of a back-to-back, too, was a less than ideal matchup. That’s because of Stephen Curry’s shooting gravity/all-around scoring, Draymond Green’s all-around play and their role players often meshing well in their fast-paced offense that can wear teams down at times.

Nonetheless, Prince in some runs for Cleveland in that one did provide a lift still, and on the night had a respectable 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting, and hit 2-of-4 from three-point land.

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It’s been good to see Prince be able to be in a nice rhythm for off-the-catch looks coming off of ball-swing feeds from guys such as Garland, Dellavedova and Kevin Love, among others, and he’s been knocking down deep balls.

In his past seven appearances, Prince has hit 2.4 of his 4.9 three-point attempts per outing, essentially a 49.0 percent clip, and has had a robust 16.1 points in 26.0 minutes per game in that span.

I like how he’s been able to come in and provide that sort of injection for Cleveland, and off the bench, has been able to give a different look, and has been able to fill it up against bench units, when those have been matchups for him, for instance. Although he has overall, too.

Along with the off-the-catch/deep ball shooting, Prince has been able to again get some looks to go down in timely fashion from beyond the arc from pull-ups, some being in secondary transtion, but he’s counter that well, also.

Taurean has been able to get to mid-range looks off of pull-ups to counter hard closeouts, and has kept defenders off-balance by his effective use of side steps, too, which have been fruitful.

And from there, Prince has gotten to the line via pump fakes/hesitations leading to defenders getting up in the air, or he’s been able to draw contact, and get to the stripe. Prince in that previously mentioned span has had a decent 2.7 free throw attempts per outing, too, and has hit 84.2 percent of those.

So, with how Taurean has been giving the Cavs a lift as a shooter that’s found his stroke/rhythm, it’s been key for the reserves, and that will and should stay that way with him off the bench in spurts/stretches at the 3, and perhaps still at the 4 some.

He’s appeared at the 4, for context, more than the 3 with Cleveland so far this season due to injuries to Love and Nance, for example. But the Cavaliers are healthier at that position now, conversely. And even with Isaac Okoro figuring it out more offensively and defending very well, Prince should get some burn in lineups with him anyway, and has, and/or can fill in in relief of the rookie.

Moreover, even while Prince has had his share of injury struggles with the Cavs, regarding the left shoulder and left ankle, and will “probably” need ankle surgery in the offseason, per a report from’s Chris Fedor last weekend, Taurean has looked much healthier/less bothered of late.

Now, per Fedor’s report/comments, the 27-year-old wing hasn’t been 100 percent, but he has been very effective with his shot creation in his burn of late, and has looked again, refreshed, if you will.

That, along with solid defense, and him having been fairly capable as a ball-mover has definitely aided the Cavs’ efforts.

So while Prince, given that he was a Cavs player mentioned in trade rumors pre-deadline, and is set to be expiring after next season, could be a potential key trade piece this upcoming offseason, we’ll have to see. One would think Cedi Osman, who was a subject of prior trade rumors could perhaps be, too, albeit he’s been way off for much of this season.

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Either way, it’s been great to see Taurean look far more comfortable recently, as that’s really paid off. He’s been feeling it as a key shooting presence for the Wine and Gold, and hopefully that continues.