As the NBA Finals are (slowly) drawing closer to their completion, that means we’re getting closer to the start of the offseason when every team can begin to dream about competing for a championship again. The Milwaukee Bucks don’t need to dream too hard about what that’s like and with the right moves, they can get back there again next season.
Those right moves include potentially making a trade for my ideal trade target of the offseason, but also using their limited budget to sign impact rotation players. The priority is to sign their two pending unrestricted free agents, Bobby Portis and Pat Connaughton, but they’ll also need outside help to make the roster better. For my money, there’s one (realistic) free agent that would be able to help significantly.
He may not be the sexiest name out there, but Taurean Prince would be a perfect addition to what the Bucks should be looking for this offseason. Upon losing to the Boston Celtics in the second round, it exposed a flaw in the roster construction of the team and showed they needed more size on the wing.
A lottery pick in 2016 who played a couple of years under head coach Mike Budenholzer, Prince has developed into a very solid 3-and-D player on the wing that can size up and play some small-ball four as well.
In his last two seasons, Prince has played nearly half of his minutes at power forward between the Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Minnesota Timberwolves. According to Cleaning the Glass, the Wolves were plus-2.4 points per 100 possessions better when Prince played the four and was minus-5.1 with him at the three.
After P.J. Tucker walked in free agency last offseason, Milwaukee was never able to find that small-ball four to replace him. Between Semi Ojeleye not working out and DeAndre’ Bembry’s unfortunate injury, they went into the playoffs with Khris Middleton as their only wing-sized player that could dabble as a small-ball four when Giannis Antetokounmpo plays center.
While Prince isn’t the defender that Tucker is, he’s an active and energetic defender that helped turn around the Wolves’ reputation as being a bad defensive team into a top-half defense this season.
He also held Jaylen Brown, Pascal Siakam, Devin Booker, and Luka Doncic to a combined 6-of-22 shooting this season. He struggled against other players as well but this highlights the impact he can have. He would also be playing alongside Middleton, Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday, and Brook Lopez so he’d have help on the defensive end as well.
Offensively, Prince is a career 37.1 percent 3-point shooter and has shot over 38 percent the last two seasons. Last year, he shot over 38 percent on 2.8 catch-and-shoot 3s per game and was well over 40 percent from the corners.
Am I ignoring that he shot under 33 percent on above-the-break 3s last season? Absolutely, but that’s why he’s (hopefully) going to be available and within the Bucks’ price range of their $6.4 million taxpayer midlevel exception this offseason.
Minnesota could, of course, choose to keep a guy that turned into a valuable role player for them and was a great veteran leader for a young team. But Milwaukee is also a better team and offers Prince a chance to win a championship. Neither is a bad choice for Prince, honestly.
I’ve been begging the Bucks to add some size on the wings this offseason and adding a small-ball four has been a very popular request from fans this offseason. Whether it’s Prince or someone like him, this is something that must be addressed this offseason.
source: Behind The Bucks Pass