NBA Draft Central
Tyshawn Taylor – PG
Projected: Mid-Late Second Round
2011-12 Stats: 16.7 pts, 2.3 reb, 4.7 ast, 1.4 stl, 0.2 blk, 48.2% FG, 68.2% FT, 38.5% 3-PT, 3.5 TO, 33.2 min
2010-11 Stats: 9.3 pts, 1.9 reb, 4.6 ast, 1.0 stl, 0.3 blk, 47.9% FG, 71.9% FT, 38.0% 3-PT, 2.7 TO, 27.1 min
Tyshawn Taylor is what many coaches and scouts would consider a push or speed guard. Standing in at 6-3, 185 pounds, Taylor has the ideal body-type for an NBA point guard.
The athletic Jayhawks’ general has played four long years at Kansas and it could easily be said that all four collegiate seasons were necessary. An inconsistent and immature player throughout his early years, Taylor has blossomed into a steady leader for the Jayhawks this season.
What you like about Taylor the player is he understands how to use his speed to attack opponents. Whether that be running high or side pick-and-rolls in the halfcourt set or in transition, Taylor’s most glaring strength is that speed. He’s arguably the fastest player from end to end in all of college basketball. And that’s saying something.
With the NBA predicated on lead guards who now can run multiple pick-and-rolls while still using their speed and athleticism to break down defenses in transition, Taylor’s build and natural ability lend to those needs very well.
Having played with dominant frontcourt bigs like Thomas Robinson and the Morris twins, the young New Jersey native has also become quite adept at feeding the post. Which amazingly is an underrated skill these days. With highly skilled college players all around him throughout his tenure at Kansas, Taylor has truly been given an important education in running a deep, yet talented squad.
That fact should make his transition at the next level run a little smoother. Kansas runs wings who are very capable spot up shooters and bigs who dive to the hoop, post up and play pick-and-roll basketball. It is a brand closely related and familiar to that of what he will see next year in the NBA, albeit the talent pool will be much improved.
Taylor, however, is not what one would consider a true point guard. He is very much a combo guard much more at ease with finding spot up shooters via kick outs or penetrating for his own shot. His vision is simply not up to the par of a natural point man, yet he has exhibited a willingness to learn the position with each season. Taylor has also shown an ability to run his team competently by getting guys into the right spots out on the court.
But it’s definitely not all good news. The young guard can be a bit of a turnover-magnet and that may be putting it mildly. Out of control at times his speed tends to get him into all sorts of trouble by penetrating too deep or leaving his feet to pass. Unfortunately many of Taylor’s turnovers are of the pull-your-hair-out unforced variety. These mind-boggling miscues are part of the reason he’s listed as a potential late second-round pick as opposed to a first-rounder by many well-known NBA Draft experts.
Another reason may be his erratic jumper. His form is not bad, but he does tend to fade to the right and away on his shot. His shooting woes unfortunately transfer to the free throw line as well where he is shooting a lowly 68.2% from the charity stripe this year. Not exactly what a coach wants to see from his starting point guard.
Ironically, as streaky as he has been over the years, this season Taylor is shooting a respectable 48.2% from the field and 38.5% from three. Not bad numbers based on his increased role in the Jayhawks’ offense this season. With his scoring average almost doubling in this his final season at Kansas, Taylor has become relied upon to score the ball.
However, Taylor’s ability to attack creating easy opportunities for his teammates and himself allow for some leeway when weighing his ultimate benefit to a prospective team. To his credit he’s responded well to criticism for many of his questionable decisions on and off the court and definitely has run the gamut when it comes to receiving much-needed tough love from his coaches. Bill Self and Bobby Hurley, Sr. don’t play.
That tutelage should definitely benefit the former St. Anthony High School all-everything guard in the pros as his thick skin will allow him to take the not-so pleasant words that will surely come at some point from a future NBA coach.
In closing Tyshawn Taylor’s speed and size are what makes him an intriguing prospect. With an impressive resume of winning at every level thus far coupled with a sought-after ability to get to the basket, Taylor could be a real find for an NBA squad next season. If he does go as late as projected, look for a contender to snatch him up. The Orlando Magic are sure in need of speed and youth in the backcourt. But let’s try not to speculate just yet.
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