5. Taurean Prince
Not a name that too many expected to see taken within the lottery, but one who will be important to the Hawks’ future as they head through some relatively uncertain times. Plus, why not include an extra here and one of the not-so-obvious rookies who is able to make an impact?
Reports had emerged that they were considering trading their 12th and 21st overall picks in an attempt to impress Al Horford. Essentially, it looked like they may ditch first round talent for a proven NBA veteran.
Instead, they opted to use those picks, and have come through with Taurean Prince (12th) and DeAndre Bembry (21st), becoming one of the winners of the first round in the process.
Prince’s 36.1 three-point percentage from last season isn’t too high, which doesn’t make him one of the top sharpshooters in the draft. Yet, with a solid pull-up game and improvement over last season, including solid range from beyond the arc when his shot is falling, he can still help offensively as his NBA career gets underway.
And as for his defense, with excellent lateral quickness and a 6’8″, 220 lbs frame with a near 7’0″ wingspan, he has all the prototypical physical tools to accompany his aggressive style to cover the perimeter and switch to four if need be.
DeAndre Bembry is a great pick for the Hawks as well, providing impressive point-forward skills from the wing as a great 6’6″ passer, athletic driver, solid shot creator from mid-range, and quick defender.
With Prince in particular as their early selection and Bembry, too, the Hawks have a highly promising wing duo. Both will be key to their future, with the free agency of Kent Bazemore and possible departure of Al Horford heightening the existing need for additional two-way presence on the wing.
Yes, Prince isn’t on the same level as the first four players here and won’t be leaned upon as heavily as other rookies. But he’s one of the most NBA-ready wings in this draft, specifically in terms of his physique and defense, and is a worthy sleeper to mention at the end, especially if Bazemore leaves to free up more minutes.
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