Opening night didn't go as planned for the Lakers. They were once again dominated by Denver, losing 119-107 as the Nuggets celebrated their ring night by chanting "Who's your daddy?" at the Lakers during the game's closing minutes.
One of the positives for L.A. was Taurean Prince. He earned the fifth starter position with his preseason play and Jarred Vanderbilt being out due to injury. Prince rewarded Darvin Ham's decision to start him by scoring 18 points, going 6-8 from the field and grabbing three rebounds. Anthony Davis showered Prince with praise postgame for his valiant efforts.
“(He’s) a floorspacer,” Davis said. “He can guard on the other end. He shot the ball well tonight. He can get into the paint. When he's on the floor, teams can't really help off of him. He'll make the shot. That's been good to have a guy like that who can give it to you on both ends of the floor and he played really well tonight."
Taurean Prince once again shot the lights out from 3.— Lakers Legacy (@LakersLegacyPod) October 25, 2023
But I was most impressed by this AD handoff play where he probes the PNR before aggressively putting the ball on the floor.
I will always emphasize TP’s underrated onball skills & ability to attack the basket. pic.twitter.com/3wUmJ3Pbjb
Davis hit the nail on the head on Prince's value. He converted on four 3-pointers and if he can be that consistent night in and night out, he'll be a great player in Ham's five-out system.
Prince can spread out the floor and be a three-level scorer for the Lakers. While his defense isn't at the level of Vanderbilt's, it might be good enough alongside his offensive ability to keep him in the starting five even when Vanderbilt returns.
Prince talked about his productive night after the game.
"My job hasn't changed since I got into the NBA," Prince said. "It's all about me finding the tendencies of those guys I'm playing with and getting to those spots where if they don't have what they have, they can hit me and count on me to hit a shot."
Hopefully, Davis will never again have a scoreless half of basketball. That way, the Lakers can combine Prince's play with superstar production. But, for now, fans will have to settle for the silver lining that Prince looked great in his L.A. debut.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.