There has been a ton of speculation this off-season as to who the Brooklyn Nets will bring in as Deron Williams’ backup. Names like Sebastian Telfair, Shaun Livingston, John Lucas, Jamaal Tinsley and Chauncey Billups have been rumored to be on the Nets list. However, the Nets have another point guard on their roster right now that could fill the role nicely. Tyshawn Taylor, the second year guard from Kansas has the potential to be a serviceable NBA point guard.
Taylor, like any young point guard, has his strengths and weaknesses but through the first few days of Summer League practices he has impressed a lot of people, including Coach Jason Kidd. On a team filled with young players trying to make a team, Kidd is expecting a lot from the 2nd year man, "I want to see him in this situation, this setting, being the leader, that's what I'm pushing. I will lean on him heavily. I'm looking for him to put guys in position offensively and defensively."
Taylor has been a leader throughout his basketball career and has always been surrounded by tremendous talent. He is a New Jersey native and attended basketball powerhouse St. Anthony’s, where he excelled. He then went on to play for Coach Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks where he was a 4 year starter. Taylor was a leader on the 2012 NCAA runner up team and averaged 16 points per game that season.
Last season for the Nets, Taylor had a very limited role playing behind Williams and veteran backup C.J.Watson. He played around 6 minutes per game and averaged 2.2 points. Very rarely did Taylor play in significant minutes, paying his dues as a rookie. But Taylor has the tools to be a good backup point guard. He is extremely quick and is a talented ball-handler. Kidd is going to look to push the ball when his backups are in and Taylor will help them to get up and down the court quickly. He is a good jump shooter, who can also use his quickness to get to the rim. Defensively he can put a lot of pressure on a team and has the ability to defend some of the quicker guards in the league.
Taylor’s most glaring weakness is his decision making on the court, which will have to improve if he is going to run an offense full of veterans. During his senior season at Kansas he averaged nearly 3 turnovers per game and during his first season in the NBA he averaged almost a turnover per game in just 6 minutes of play. Also Taylor had a tendency to take bad shots at Kansas and if he wants to get playing time on the Nets he will have to learn to be more of a facilitator in the NBA, as opposed to a shooter in college.
If there was a place for Taylor to learn maturity and improve his on-court decision making, it certainly seems it would be in Brooklyn alongside Kidd and Williams, two of the best point guards in recent memory. It seems as though Taylor is ready to show what he is made of during the Orlando Summer League and understands that he will have to compete for the backup role, “"I love the competition, so I think the summer league is huge for me, just improving myself. It's part of the business, you have to compete, so I'm ready for that."
So far, Taylor has made quite an impression on his coaches and teammates and if he can keep it up during the Summer League he could be looking at a big increase in minutes this season.
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