Tuesday, December 06, 2022

The Taurean Prince of Timberwolves defends you by putting his hand on your face


A photograph currently hangs in the Timberwolves’ practice facility that displays a defensive masterpiece.

This is an Associated Press photo from Minnesota’s road win over Oklahoma City in early March that shows the hand of the Timberwolves wing Taurean Prince within centimeters of Oklahoma City when Pokusevsky attempted a shot, set for the record. , didn’t go in the face of Oklahoma City forward Aleksey Pokusevsky.

It was shot fighting in the best possible way, and it is not uncommon for an experienced wing. Prince’s go-to competition is moving his hand between the shooter’s arms as the shooter rises up to block the sight.

He picked it up a few seasons ago while training with the league’s top scorer – Kevin Durant – as Durant worked his way back from a torn Achilles tendon.

“Having a body for her, protecting her for 30 days straight and trying to give her the best she can,” Prince said. “At some point and time, all I could do was put my hand on his face, and that did more work for me than trying to jump and block the ball. And I just stuck with it.”

Prince said he thinks it “annoys” people when they can’t see the rim as they get up for their shot attempt.

“It forces their muscle memory to take over,” he said, “and I like my constraints when I can reach it.”

The Prince said he would keep it in his arsenal. Yes, he said, it’s an art form—one famously perfected by the likes of Shane Battier as he looked to Kobe Bryant earlier this century. But Prince said the method is “quite simple” at its core.

“Don’t jump to contest,” he said. “Everyone shoots pretty much the same. Just slipped it in there at the last second and tried to cover their eyes.”

It can’t be that easy. Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said he might not advise others to adopt a defensive strategy. But there’s no denying that Rajkumar has nailed it.

“He does a good job of contesting elections. We talk about it all the time, being able to fight shots,” Finch said. “What we love about Taurean is his versatility, his ability to fight defensively. He gives us a huge wing. We don’t have a ton of size on our team in wing positions.”


The NBA announced Sunday that Prince was fined $15,000 for making obscene gestures during Friday’s win over Dallas at Target Center.

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