Taurean Prince Signs On to Stick with Brooklyn Nets
Forward agrees to two-year contract extension prior to first game with Nets
It didn’t take long for Taurean Prince and the Nets to conclude that this was a connection that clicked. Before the fourth-year forward has even played a regular season game for Brooklyn, he signed a two-year contract extension with the Nets on Monday afternoon.
Prince has one-year remaining on his rookie deal, so the new deal will run through the 2021-22 season.
“I’m just so happy,” said Nets coach Kenny Atkinson. “Great job by Taurean, great job by the Nets. I think it’s that simple. I think he’s gonna be really good. He’s still a young player, developing. Listen, it’s also us understanding since he’s been with us how much faith we have in him. That’s an early call. On his part too, right? So he’s got to make the commitment to our organization, we’ve got to make a commitment without actually playing a regular season game but sometimes you’ve got to bet on people and bet on humanity and bet on a player and that’s what we did. I’m thrilled.”
The Nets acquired Prince over the summer in a deal that sent Allen Crabbe and picks to the Atlanta Hawks. The 25-year-old was quick to get acquainted, joining teammates to watch the organization’s NBA Summer League squad in Las Vegas, and for workouts there and throughout the summer.
“I think Sean Marks sets the tone, and then obviously along with great ownership; they’ve taken a lot of responsibility to make this team what it is,” said Prince. “The fact that I’m a lot comfortable, super-comfortable with the people around here, from the team to the training staff to the janitors to the cooks, like, everybody makes everything feel like home. So that made it that much easier.”
Prince spent his first two seasons in Atlanta playing for head coach Mike Budenholzer, for whom Atkinson was an assistant for three seasons with the Hawks before coming to Brooklyn in 2016. Both Atkinson and Prince said some familiar schemes helped with what has become a quick acclimation.
“I think that’s part of him being with Bud and kind of understanding how we operate, very similar systems,” said Atkinson. “He told me the terminology is the same he used in Atlanta. That makes the transition smoother for him. That’s a big help that he was with Bud in a similar system.”
“I did a lot of studying as soon as I was traded, what they did in their offense,” said Prince. “It was all kind of similar to what I was used to. It’s kind of like the same tree. So it was a great fit and I’m glad I’m here.”
Prince started all 82 games in that second season under Budenholzer with the Hawks. Over three NBA seasons Prince averaged 11.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting 38 percent from 3-point range. Last season he shot a career-high 39.0 percent from 3-point range in 55 games.
In four preseason games for the Nets, Prince led the team with 16.8 points per game while shooting 69.6 percent (16-for-23) from 3-point range. He brings a new element to the Nets with consistent 3-point shooting that the team didn’t have from the 4 position last season.
“He's made shots at a really high level,” said Spencer Dinwiddie after practice last Thursday. “Like we said before camp, I think he's going to be the surprise player on the team. Everyone's expecting big things from the three main guys and Caris and Jarrett as well, but Taurean is going to be a guy that's going to really space the floor for us, knock down a lot of shots and add a different dimension. “
“He’s been excellent quite honestly from day one, now it’s continue that,” said Atkinson last Thursday. “It’s gotta be against Toronto and Minnesota and continue that progression and be that 3-and-D guy that I thought he was those first two years in Atlanta. That was his real focus. It’s been real positive.”
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