Cleveland Cavaliers: Taurean Prince has earned his share of chances

Cleveland Cavaliers wing Taurean Prince looks to make a play. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers wing Taurean Prince looks to make a play. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

To a large extent, Taurean Prince played well for the Cleveland Cavaliers this past season since being acquired via trade from the Brooklyn Nets in mid-January. In his 29 appearances with the Cavaliers, Prince had 10.1 points and 3.7 rebounds in 23.7 minutes per outing.

He typically provided nice rotational shooting for the Cavaliers, in filling in at the 3 and 4 spots, and was getting it done off-the-catch and some via off-the-bounce shooting, too. With Cleveland post-trade, he knocked in 41.5 percent of his three-point shot attempts per contest, of which were 4.1 per game.

In Prince’s last 10 games of 2020-21, he appeared to be a particularly good rhythm as well, and averaged 13.6 points per outing and hit 45.7 percent of his three-point attempts in that stretch. That was on a volume of 4.6 threes per game in that batch of games.

The issue with Prince had been the injury woes with the Cavaliers, though. Earlier on, he missed four games in February because of a left ankle injury, and that ankle was not 100 percent from there, either.

Plus, after initially injuring it during Cleveland’s loss versus the Indiana Pacers on March 3, Prince missed a 10-game stretch in March, even while that was only roughly two weeks of time following the All-Star break, due to a left shoulder sprain.

After that, Taurean did play well after the first two games following that absence, for the most part, but in order to get the ankle situation healed, Prince would undergo surgery in late April and his season was wrapped up.

And it had been expected that he’d have that happen following the season anyway, so it wasn’t a total surprise, albeit one would think Prince should be good to go later on in the offseason. With that in mind, and with what he showed when on the healthier side of things, Prince should get his share of playing time, I’d think when next season rolls around.

Prince has earned his share of chances for the Cavs.

He didn’t seem to be a great fit in his time with the Nets, and never appeared to be in-rhythm nearly enough to get his shot going for stretches consistently, but with the Cavs, he benefited from having more of a bench scoring role game-to-game.

Prince again has only appeared in 29 games thus far for Cleveland, so I’m reading into that with a grain of salt. That’s fair to say, and there were still games when Prince wasn’t nearly as impactful.

And injuries to Larry Nance Jr. and before that, Kevin Love, likely led to some more of those 4 man minutes for Prince, too. At least with Nance and we’ll have to see involving Love, I’d expect Larry to be back to his normal self and be a noteworthy all-around contributor next season, too, even after his 2020-21 was so injury-riddled.

Plus, Dean Wade could very well get his share of playing time once again next season, given what he’s shown on both ends often this year, and was a pleasant surprise, really.

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All of that said, with how Prince shot it for Cleveland this past season in the off-ball sense, and with his shot creation abilities on-ball leading to him providing a spark, I believe he’s earned his share of minutes. He’s typically competent defensively against wings, too.

So I’d imagine he should receive his share of 3/4 playing time. Here and there, he could realistically play in spurts at the 2 even as well, for what it’s worth.

However, Prince and Cedi Osman were key Cavs previously mentioned in trade rumors near the 2021 deadline, and admittedly, Prince is set to be on an expiring $13 million deal.

So, if the Cavaliers end up selecting a wing/combo forward in the 2021 NBA Draft even more so, one would think that Prince could eventually be traded by next year’s deadline.

We’ll of course have to see in regards to that sort of thing, and/or if Prince could potentially be moved before next season.

Albeit if he is mostly healthy next season and is playing well in the shooting sense, mostly off the bench, I couldn’t blame Cleveland for retaining him through next deadline, especially if the Cavs are firmly in the postseason/play-in mix. And I believe they definitely could be and honestly with further development from Collin Sexton/Darius Garland and Isaac Okoro, for example, should be, if the club is reasonable healthy.

From there, maybe the Cavs could look to re-sign the current 27-year-old Prince; I’m not certain on that.

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But rest assured, Prince has earned his share of chances to keep making an impact off the bench for Cleveland next season, provided he can get healthy.