Brooklyn Nets wing Taurean Prince has tested positive for coronavirus.
Best of luck to the Brooklyn Nets and their severely shorthanded crew that’s heading to Orlando.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Taurean Prince is now the fourth Nets player who will miss the resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season within the Walt Disney Resort bubble. The fourth-year wing has tested positive for coronavirus and will sit out of the league’s restart.
Prince joins DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Dinwiddie and Wilson Chandler among the Nets who will not participate in the NBA’s bubble experiment in Orlando.
Jordan confirmed on Twitter last week that he had tested positive for COVID-19 while being back in the Brooklyn market, and that because of this, he would not participate. Dinwiddie consulted with team doctors after his second positive test result, and they advised him it’d be in his best interest to stay home. Chandler told ESPN’s Malika Andrews that he would not be participating, prioritizing the health and safety of his family first.
These notable absences come on top of the Nets’ two star additions — Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving — being sidelined by injuries. Rookie center Nicolas Claxton is also currently out with a shoulder injury.
Prince, who was averaging 12.1 points and 6.0 rebounds in 29.0 minutes per game, started in 61 of his 64 games with the Nets this season. The 26-year-old was having a dismal shooting year, however, converting just 33.9 percent of his 3-pointers and only 37.6 percent of his shot attempts overall. Prince is on the books for two more seasons and $25.3 million after this year.
With Prince joining Jordan, Dinwiddie and Chandler in sitting out, the Nets are eligible to add four substitute players to their roster, which is looking extremely thin at this point:
- PG: Tyler Johnson, Chris Chiozza, Jeremiah Martin
- SG: Caris LeVert, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Garrett Temple
- SF: Joe Harris, Dzanan Musa, Justin Anderson
- PF: Rodions Kurucs
- C: Jarrett Allen
Yeesh. Brooklyn’s expectations for this season were already tempered with KD rehabbing and then Irving going down with a season-ending injury, but at this rate, the Nets are in serious danger of dropping out of the playoff picture altogether. With eight games to play before the start of the postseason, they currently sit in seventh place — 0.5 games ahead of the Orlando Magic and 6.0 games ahead of the Washington Wizards.
The Wizards will be without star Bradley Beal and sharpshooter Davis Bertans, but if they can make up some ground and pull within 4.0 games of whoever the 8-seed is, they’ll force a play-in scenario (single-elimination for the ninth-place team, double-elimination for the eighth-place team).
However, falling out of the playoff picture wouldn’t be the end of the world for the Nets either. They’re nothing but first-round fodder for an Eastern Conference contender like the Milwaukee Bucks or Toronto Raptors, and if they fall out of the postseason and into the lottery, they’ll keep a lottery-protected, 2020 first-round pick they owe the Minnesota Timberwolves (via the Atlanta Hawks).
With Prince now joining so many key players on the sidelines, it might be in Brooklyn’s best interests to fold and keep that first-rounder.