Taurean Prince Is Seizing Every Opportunity With Edwards Resting

Photo Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves are winning, and the best part about it is that we cannot attribute these wins solely to the heroics of any one player. Karl-Anthony Towns is playing out of his mind, sure, but there have been key contributions from across the roster every night. The Wolves look more and more complete by the day, a true testament to the team-building and development culture that has taken root here in Minnesota.

Taurean Prince has been one of the biggest benefactors of this team-wide resurgence. After a slow start to the year, Prince has settled into his role off the bench and has become a consistent contributor for Chris Finch’s Wolves. He’s no longer just an expiring contract that got Minnesota off Ricky Rubio’s monster deal — Prince is a valuable personality and player.

The last time I examined Prince’s prospective role was during the offseason after the Timberwolves traded for him. I dove into some of the stats and lauded his ability to shoot the ball efficiently from outside the arc (45% from the right corner alone) while being able to guard multiple positions. Versatile wing players in this mold are highly sought-after commodities in the modern NBA, and the ability to defend well while shooting at a high rate can earn just about anybody minutes. Prince is starting to showcase his value in both of these aspects, and it is helping stabilize a bench unit with a high propensity to be boom-or-bust.

Prince’s shooting stroke has returned to the tune of 45% from three in the last five games alone (per StatMuse). Prince has also averaged 12.2 points per game in that span, which is nearly double his current season average (6.3 ppg). We can attribute the blistering accuracy and efficiency numbers to the immense attention that Towns garners while he is on the floor. But Prince is also showcasing an ability to create for himself off the dribble. That versatility will ensure that Prince retains a steady spot in the rotation.

Regardless of whoever is drawing the attention away from him, Prince is making the most of his opportunities. Per Cleaning the Glass, Prince has the highest PSA (points per 100 shot attempts) of his career at 122.2 this season, which ranks in the 90th percentile of all players. He has achieved those numbers while also having the lowest usage percentage of his career (14.8%). Despite the limited opportunities, Prince is making the most of them and contributing to Minnesota’s success in a big way.

Prince’s aforementioned defense has also shown up in a big way lately. Prince has averaged 1.6 steals per game in the last five games and 0.8 blocks per game. These numbers trounce his yearly averages of 0.7 spg and 0.3 bpg, respectively, and this doesn’t even count all of the little plays and contests that don’t always show up in the stat sheet. It is clear that something is beginning to click for Prince and his role on the team, and it could not come at a better time.

There will surely be increased opportunities for Prince in the immediate future. As Anthony Edwards battles his knee tendinitis and sits out to get some rest, his 34.6 minutes per game have to go somewhere.

Prince has been one of the first beneficiaries of the circumstances, and he is doing all he can to capitalize on this opportunity. Prince is making a solid case to continue to have this prolific role off the bench moving forward. If this momentum continues into the playoffs, Minnesota is shaping up to be a tough out no matter who they play.

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