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NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Jeffery Taylor

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Jeffery Taylor
– SG/SF
Projected: Mid-Late First Round
2011-12 Stats: 16.1 pts, 5.6 reb, 1.7 ast, 1.3 stl, 0.4 blk, 49.3% FG, 60.5% FT, 42.3% 3-PT, 2.2 TO, 32.1 min
2010-11 Stats: 14.7 pts, 5.5 reb, 2.4 ast, 1.0 stl, 0.6 blk, 44.9% FG, 71.9% FT, 34.5% 3-PT, 2.6 TO, 31.7 min

2012 NBA Draft Prospect Strengths Weaknesses
Player Card: Jeffery Taylor
Jeffery Taylor | Vanderbilt Commodores
College

Vanderbilt
Class
Senior
Position
SG/SF
HT 6-7
WT 225 lbs.
  • Explosive athlete
  • Great on-ball defender
  • Underrated shooter
  • Mature (4-year player)
  • Moves well without ball
  • Understands role
  • Ball-handling
  • Streaky offensive contributor
  • Line-drive, low release
  • Mediocre FT shooter
  • Not a natural playmaker
  • Below average wingspan

Analysis

Jeffery Taylor is an ultra-athletic G/F whose game projects well on the wing at the next level.  Known more for his smothering perimeter defense, the 6-7, 225-pound Senior out of Vanderbilt has the quick feet, strong build and competitiveness necessary to translate that all-important strength of his game to the NBA.

A solid 6-7 he bullies his opponents frequently in transition and at the rim.   Loves to attack driving baseline or from the top of the key.  Very determined finisher.  Once he gets a step on a defender there’s not much in the way of stopping him from either scoring or getting to the foul line.

Unlike many of the younger less experienced players entering the Draft, Taylor has spent four seasons at Vanderbilt improving his offensive game while filling out his 225-pound frame nicely.  He now has the bulk and necessary wing skill set to legitimately fill a role of a traditional NBA SG/SF immediately.

Vanderbilt’s offense featured constant movement from its players off screens and cuts to get open.  To that point Taylor is accustomed to moving extremely well without the ball and now shows a nice touch from the perimeter not displayed in his early days with the program.

Over four collegiate season the Swedish-born forward increased his 3-point accuracy from 22.0% as a Freshmen to 42.3% at the close of his final year at Vandy.

In fact according to Synergy Sports Technology’s extensive player database Taylor scored on a highly efficient 1.217 points per possession in off-screen play types this past season.  A number that increased from just .836 ppp the season prior.

With his improved ability to hit perimeter jumpers off screens and in spot up situations, Taylor adds another dimension to his already desired primary NBA skill set which is defense.

Capable of sufficiently defending the 1-3 positions, Taylor does a tremendous job at keeping smaller and seemingly faster guards in front of him.  Unafraid of physical contact, he uses his solid frame just enough to hinder the offensive player’s progress at the point of attack keeping them off-balanced and out of rhythm.

However his defensive work off the ball could arguably be his best trait.  Once he locks on to a player he stays there mirroring his footsteps.  He jumps passing lanes and recovers fairly well.  Many times his defense surprises his opponents leading to frustration. Add that tenacity to his jumping ability and it makes for an altogether tough task trying to score on him.

Vanderbilt would put Taylor on the opposing team’s point guard for instance a Dee Bost to limit dribble penetration one game and then match him up on a much bigger versatile small forward like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and lock-and-trail a shooter running off screens like a Doron Lamb the next.

To give you a better idea of his defensive prowess; in isolation sets players shot just 27.3% against him this past season at Vanderbilt.  Guarding the pick-and-roll he frustrated ball handlers into a lowly 28.9% mark from the field.   His defense is part skill, but mostly athleticism, anticipation, quick feet and a noticeable desire to stop his man.  The kid enjoys playing defense.

However Taylor is not without his flaws.

He doesn’t handle all too well at this stage in his basketball career.  He can be a bit turnover prone if indeed he does start dribbling too much.  If he is taking one or two dribbles straight line he can be a terror, but anything misdirection-wise there’s a solid chance he’ll dribble his way into trouble – his crossover step-back jumper going left is much improved however.

Sometimes on defense he can get caught looking back into the middle of the court resulting in scores via backdoor cuts.  Generally this will happen when he is looking to jump the passing lane for a steal.  Situation where his eager youthfulness gets him into trouble.

Despite his above-average jumping ability he tends to get his shot blocked when spotting up more than one would think.  There could be a couple of reasons for this; he is still honing this craft and tends to concentrate too long allowing a defender to swat the shot away, his release point is somewhat low and a line-drive more times than not.

Taylor also is not what one would call a natural playmaker, however he is much improved in this area.  Interestingly, although his 3-point shooting percentage has increased substantially during his collegiate career, his free throw shooting has taken a dive.

Taylor went from shooting 74.6% from the free throw line his sophomore season to just 60.5% his senior season.

All that being said Taylor provides a prospective NBA club an NBA-ready skill set from the SG/SF position.  He stands in at a legit 6-7.  Is solidly built at 225 pounds.  Has quick enough feet to halt point guards from getting into the lane, can smother shooters running off countless screens and shows the toughness and tenacity to guard bigger small forwards.

On top of all that he has proven capable of knocking down that most-important spot up 3-ball, can score easy buckets in transition with authority and understands his role.

Very well-rounded SG/SF prospect that shouldn’t be a project.  Think Kawhi Leonard/Thabo Sefolosha, but quicker and more athletic.  If Taylor gets selected by a team with a need at SG/SF he should immediately challenge for significant playing time even if just on the defensive end initially.

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