Jermaine Taylor hasn't played in an NBA game since the 2010-11 campaign, but he wants back in.
Since then and along the way, the swingman has traveled the world to play basketball --- Spain, China, Israel, New Zealand, and of course, multiple stints in the D-League.
Spending parts of two NBA seasons with the Rockets and Kings after getting drafted as the 32nd pick of the 2009 NBA Draft, his scoring prowess at every level is undeniable. Even as he was still coming into his own as a young athlete, the guard tallied 7.1 points on 48% from the field in just 16 minutes per contest through 26 games for the Kings during his second year.
Taylor arguably made his biggest professional splash when he poured in an eye-popping 49 points (then considered a minor league single-game scoring high) as a member of the Maine Red Claws during a contest in March of 2013.
Months later, he experienced an unfortunate ACL injury while suiting up for Maine the following season. In addition to playing in New Zealand last season, however, Taylor made his way back to play for the Idaho Stampede, averaging 13.7 points on 44% from the field in just 29 minutes per contest. He's obviously gone on to hit the professional hardwood following his injury, but there's no doubt the road to getting back to competing and maintaining himself at a high level was one that required perseverance and dedication. After years of learning, on the job so to speak, Taylor has certainly displayed that and more.
But as he looks back on his journey --- where he's been, why, and where he wants to go, one thing is clear: Taylor has the NBA once again steadily in his sights.
"I dream real big. The short term is to get back into the NBA. I've never gotten my chance. Even when I was drafted, it was tough. But every time I've gotten on the floor, I've produced. I've always heard that I need to find the right situation, or some other thing," Taylor explained to RidiculousUpside.com. "It's never been a question of talent for me. Now, I'm just hoping to get on a team. From there, I want to get on the floor. Then I'll start setting my next goal. I'm taking it as they come."
Physically, Taylor says he feels as good as ever and that he'd be ready to impress right now, should an NBA team come calling about a workout or potential contract. He believes his time is now, which mentally, is an easy thing for him to get behind given what he's been through.
"That's the easy part. Because I have the experience, it's a part of me now. All of my experience has helped me become who I am today. I've been around the game and have wisdom. There's still a long way way to go, because you can always learn," Taylor said. "But where I am now, compared to where I was, there's a night and day difference. I know how to handle certain circumstances."
At 29 years old, Taylor is undoubtedly more mature and rational on the floor than he's ever been. NBA teams often enjoy taking advantage of a prospective's player youth and potential straight out of college. But the reality is, most need additional seasoning and exposure to different things to ensure they better ready themselves to handle the pressures and respective ups and downs that come with playing professional basketball. After going through the motions and exploring other avenues, Taylor is confident about one thing.
"I watch NBA basketball, and I feel the same way I've always felt. I'm better than a lot of the guys on the floor," he put simply. "I'm just being honest."
There's only so much a player can do to control and impact their own circumstances and the respective outcome. It comes down to politics, opportunities, and being at the right place (or in front of the right eyes) at the right time. Taylor knows it's easy to find additional motivation, despite that.
"To be honest, my faith isn't in NBA [scouts]. It's in God. That's what the journey has taught me. That's where my faith is. Being on the outside looking in, I know how difficult this has been," the veteran added. "But I'm a very spiritual person. My faith isn't in men. I'm going to chase this dream."
"We are excited about what is ahead for Jermaine and the opportunities he will have," Scorers 1st Sportmanagement
CEO, Gerrit Kersten-Thiele told RU. "Jermaine has worked very hard to get back to 100% and we are confident with his ability he is ready for whatever comes next in his career."
"Bringing me in is a win-win. I'll be cheap, and I am a good player. You can see what I've done. I've been through everything a basketball player can go through. When [NBA teams] bring these young guys in, there are things that are going to happen," Taylor further explained. "When someone gets injured, I can say I've been there and look at me now. If a guy gets traded or waived, I've been there. Someone gets sent to the D-League, I've been there too. Who better than someone that's proven himself at different levels for the young guys to look up to? I've never been in trouble, and I'm a good person."
In any event, Taylor seems to understand his niche and how he can bring value to an NBA team. It'll be interesting to see if those he's trying to appeal to will have mutual admiration. Either way, he makes some interesting points.