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- Measurables: 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, senior guard from Kansas
- Key Stats: 17.2 points, 4.9 assists, 1.2 steals per game, 49 percent shooting, 43 percent 3-point shooting
- Projected: Late first round to undrafted
- Hickory High Similarity Score
Why I like this guy
I became a big Tyshawn Taylor fan after watching the fantastic documentary about his high school coach, Bob Hurley Sr., The Street Stops Here.
Taylor was a key part of the talented St. Anthony’s high school team that the film spent one year following. It was a compelling movie and really easy to connect with that team and players, so that kind of spurred me to start paying more attention to Taylor’s career at Kansas.
Unfortunately, that career has seemed to have more downs than ups. Taylor has had injuries and suspensions combined with an inconsistent on-court performance that have made his tenure in Lawrence a rocky one, but as longtime readers know, I’m a sucker for redemptive stories and Taylor seems to have finally figured things out as a senior, leading one of the best teams in the country.
Pros for the Pistons
Surprisingly, despite the fact that the Pistons have been considered perimeter-heavy the last few years, they actually need some guard depth. Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey appear to be entrenched as the starters, but behind them, there isn’t much. Walker Russell will be a free agent and he’s only a fringe roster player anyway who wouldn’t have been on the team if not for injuries. Ben Gordon is player 1B in Detroit’s two-player race to the amnesty clause. Will Bynum is once again out of the rotation and is a good candidate to be traded as several teams are looking for inexpensive help at the backup point guard spot.
Taylor has some things going for him that could make him a fit for the Pistons. He has good size. He’s mostly a point guard in college, but at 6-foot-3, he would have the ability to guard some NBA shooting guards as well. Any second round pick who can play or earn minutes at multiple positions stands a much better chance of making a roster and earning minutes than guys who are pretty much confined to one position.
Taylor has become a great 3-point shooter, something that has been a definite weakness for the Pistons this season. He’s making 43 percent of his threes at Kansas this season and he shot 38 percent from three as a junior.
Taylor is a great athlete and long-armed defender. A backcourt trio of Knight, Stuckey and Taylor, if they all commit to playing with effort at that end, is potentially a lockdown unit that can pressure a team and force a lot of steals and turnovers.
He’s also a late bloomer. Taylor was a much heralded freshman at Kansas, but had issues that made his career stop and start. Had he not had the off-court problems early in his career and been able to stay on the court, his draft stock might be higher by now. He could sneak into the first round with a good tourney run and good pre-draft workouts after the season, but he could also be a good value pick if he hangs around into the second round.
Cons for the Pistons
In Stuckey and Knight, the Pistons have two combo guards who don’t see the floor and set up teammates particularly well. In Knight, the Pistons believe they have a player who can develop those skills, and he might, but it still currently represents a weakness. The guards are not consistent playmakers for others. Taylor doesn’t address this problem — his court vision is one of his weaknesses.
He’s also turnover prone, averaging 3.5 turnovers per game against just 4.9 assists. His 22.3 percent turnover rate is an improvement from last year’s 26.8, but still way too high. A knock on Knight going into last year’s draft was his turnovers, but in his one college season, his 19.8 turnover rate was better (although Knight’s mark was certainly not very good either) than Taylor’s this season.
Taylor’s outside shooting would be a definite benefit and something the Pistons could use, but adding another combo guard who is better at getting shots for himself than for others might not provide the Pistons with the kind of depth they need.
What others are saying
Although Taylor’s the type of player who can make a coach want to pull out his own hair, more and more scouts believe Taylor could be a difference-maker at the next level.
“He’s got speed,” one NBA scout said. “He plays hard. He’s improved his jump shot. He’s starting to make better decisions with the basketball. I really think he can help a team off the bench.”
Taylor now is firmly planted in the second round of our Big Board, and there’s still room for him to grow in workouts.
Perhaps Taylor’s biggest improvement as a player over his time at Kansas has been with his shooting ability. He’s knocking down a career-high 42% from 3-point range, despite the fact that he’s nearly doubled his attempts from last season. He gets good elevation on his shot, has shown NBA 3-point range, and he’s just as effective shooting off the catch with his feet set or off the dribble, both of which he does prolifically.
Defensively, as we’ve mentioned before, Taylor has all of the tools to successfully defend the point guard position at the NBA level. He has the size and lateral quickness scouts like to see, and he competes hard and generally shows good toughness as most Bill Self coached players do.
Taylor has the ability to wow you with his tremendous athleticism and at times makes bigtime plays. His big problem is that he’s not a true point guard and his decision making is terrible.
Taylor’s perimeter jumper may be one of his biggest improvements over the last four seasons. Not only has he tightened up his form – feet and shoulders square, uses his legs well, a quick, high release and good arc – but he has become much more confident in taking his jumper. He knows when he is going to get a look, and he has his body and hands ready to take the shot quickly. He uses ball fakes well to create space, but he needs to work on getting the same form when taking his jumper off the dribble.
What is the best thing Tyshawn Taylor does for his team?
Pardeep Toor is a former sports writer for MLive.com and the world’s biggest Tyshawn Taylor fan:
“Taylor caught my eye in his freshman season in 2008-09, specifically in his backup role against finals-bound Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament. He was so fast with the ball. Fearless. Then, he disappeared for 2.5 years. Taylor never got better. His shot floundered in mediocrity, turnovers were an embarrassment as late as Jan. 4 of this year and another early Jayhawks exit from the tournament was destined to occur at the mercy of their point guard’s sloppy hands.
“But then something clicked. In his last 16 games, he’s averaging 19.6 points (nine 20+ point games!), 4.7 assists on 52.6 percent from the field and 42.3 percent from three. I’m struggling to decide whether Taylor’s late spurt is a result of underachievement for the majority of his collegiate career or over-achievement at the tale end of it. Can carelessness become clarity over night? I’m not sure. Like I always said about Tyshawn – “he just needs more time time” – he’s finally running out but still has one more NCAA tournament to prove that he belongs.”
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