After four years at the University of Kansas, Tyshawn Taylor found himself as one of the most experienced players in 2012 NBA draft, but fell to the Brooklyn Nets in the second round due to concerns about his jump-shot, decision making and off-court issues. Now in his second year, Taylor is one of three point guards on a veteran Nets squad, but is faced with an uphill battle of stealing minutes from Shaun Livingston - a proven veteran who is already off to a great start this season. Is this the year that Tyshawn Taylor cracks the rotation or will he spend more time in the D-League to hone his skills? That is the question I try to answer in this video breakdown.
Attacking The Basket
Tyshawn Taylor has great size for a point guard and given his quickness, impressive ball-handling, and athleticism, defenders have a tough time staying in front of him over the course of an entire game. He also boasts a 36.5-inch max vertical, per Draft Express, which was one of the best in the pre draft measurements among point guards.
His general plan of attack is pretty simple: Attack the basket. While he is not a bad shooter from long range - he shot 36.4 percent on 33 attempts with the Springfield Armor - most of his damage comes in the paint on a series of lay-ups and floaters. Defenders do tend to lay off of him to bait him into settling for threes instead of attacking the basket, but Taylor still gets by them thanks to a quick first-step and some very polished handles. He is also very effective on the fast-break, where his ball-handling and foot-speed make it hard for defenders to stop him when he's got a full head of steam. Another aspect of his game that is nice to see is his comfort level with driving to the basket with his off-hand, even though he goes to his right the majority of the time.
Despite having a score-first mentality, Tyshawn is a very willing passer and a good one at that - in eight games with the Springfield Armor, he averaged 7.5 assists per game and dished out double-digit assists twice. Because of his ability to get into the paint almost at will, teammates often find themselves wide open on the wings and Taylor does a good job finding them. He also loves to push the ball in transition, as we've already seen, and when his teammates fill the lane, he tends to make the right play by spacing the floor and giving them the ball when they're in perfect stride to the basket.
There are two main problems with Tyshawn Taylor's game and one of those happens to be his shot selection.
Given his current skill set, Tyshawn isn't fit for a starting role in the NBA and will therefore have to learn how to become an efficient back-up point guard. Whether or not that will happen in Brooklyn, we don't know, but with Jason Kidd and Deron Williams as his mentors, he's in a good position to learn from some of the best in the game. The problem is, Taylor is a volume shooting, score-first point guard who doesn't have a knock down three point shot and lacks an in-between game, which isn't likely what Kidd wants from his second-string point guard. (Kidd said before the season that he wants Deron Williams to have more of a pass-first mentality, which is probably what he wants from Taylor, too).
In the eight games he spent in the D-League last season, Tyshawn averaged 24.6 points on 20.3 shot attempts per game, which doesn't scream "efficiency." He would often settle for pull-up threes early in the shot clock, which were almost wasted possessions, and barrel his way into the paint, forcing a lot of shots and turning the ball over far too often.
But more about those turnovers in a second.
The other part of Taylor's game that needs a lot of work is his decision making. In his senior year at Kansas, Taylor averaged 3.5 turnovers and only 4.8 assists per game, per StatSheet.com. With the Armor, his assist-to-turnover ratio was a little better, but he still averaged 4.75 turnovers per game, which was far too many.
Most of it comes down to him just being careless. As you'll see in the video below, many of Taylor's turnovers come from him forcing his way to the basket where he'd be better off either passing the ball out to a teammate or just simply running a play. Other times, he seems to be oblivious of his surroundings, making it easy for defenders to rip the ball away from him and go on to score an uncontested lay-up.
As far as I'm concerned, there is no doubt that Tyshawn Taylor has the potential to be a formidable back-up point guard in the NBA - the talent is there and he already has the skill-set to produce. However, it's the smaller things that needs some work. Until he can prove to Jason Kidd that he's capable of taking control of the second unit without turning the ball over three-to-four times per game or taking shots that we don't even see Deron Williams take anymore, it's unlikely that he'll crack the rotation. And for that reason, it's no surprise that the Brooklyn Nets have already assigned him to the Springfield Armor in the wake of a new D-League season.
Will he get called back up soon? Probably. As a rookie, he only played eight games with the Armor and given the fact that the Nets only have two other "point guards," they may need Taylor down the stretch of the season to give Williams some much needed rest. But will the Nets call on him at the end of the season where every win puts them a step closer to winning an NBA championship? That remains to be seen.