GWU alum Tony Taylor tried to catch on with an NBA team this summer, working out for squads like the Knicks and Celtics. The guard will continue trying to make his mark when he starts the season with the Tulsa 66ers, the D-League affiliate of the NBA Western Conference champion Thunder.
Whether it be through trade or via the draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder have prided themselves on acquiring pure and promising point guards over the past few years. With NBA squads now forming more close-knit relationships with their respective D-League affiliates, embracing them like a true minor league system of sorts, it should come as no surprise that the Tulsa 66ers selected Taylor Jr. with the final pick of the second round in this year's NBADL Draft.
The young gun's style of play is similar to that of the game's purest point guards. A true floor general, Taylor Jr. understands the game and knows how to thread the needle. His court vision is tremendous, as evidenced in his ability to effectively find his teammates no matter where they are on the court.
And if his playmaking traits aren't enough to sell people on his talent, Taylor's strong frame allows him to attack the basket and drive with the best of them. His instincts and ability to make quick decisions on the fly, and run with them with full confidence on the court, makes him a valuable asset for any team looking for someone to help them run the floor.
An unfortunate injury to Maynor kept the guard down for much of last season, limiting him to just 9 games. In search of a steady backup, the Thunder turned to veteran and NBA champion Derek Fisher to fill the void.
But what will happen, should one of their floor generals be bitten by the long-term injury bug once again? Perhaps if no worth-while vet is available to be had, the Thunder will come looking down the minor league ranks. What better way to ensure you have a player ready to step in to fill a void and make sure the team doesn't miss a beat, than to have your respective minor league staff mold him with the franchise's key values in mind?
Developing a point guard and watching him as he waits in the wings was apparently also a consideration of the New York Knicks, when they too gave Taylor Jr. a look this past summer. In addition to working out for staffers from multiple NBA teams, the GWU logged some time in the gym during private works for both the Knicks and the Celtics.
After not receiving an invite to NBA training camp, Taylor Jr. entered himself into the NBA D-League Draft. It goes without saying that being snatched up in one of the draft's earlier rounds by the minor league staff of an NBA title contender isn't too shabby at all.
And given the Thunder's special attention to and pride in skilled point guards, Taylor Jr should feel completely and utterly validated. The Sleepy Hollow, New York native worked hard this offseason, not only performing in front of the various executives, but also sizing himself up against NBA-level floor generals while working out in the Big Apple.
Taylor Jr. may not have reached The Association yet, but it's clear he's peaked the curiosities of staffers from Tulsa, and perhaps, Oklahoma City, too. With the minor league affiliate of a title contender giving him a chance, it's only a matter of time before other NBA execs catch on too, especially now that Taylor Jr. is front and center.