RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Tyshawn Taylor

Posted by dnspewak on May 18th, 2012

The NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 28, in New York City. As we have done for the last several years, RTC’s team of writers (including Andrew Murawa, Kevin Doyle, Evan Jacoby, Matt Patton, and Danny Spewak) will provide comprehensive breakdowns of each of the 35 collegians most likely to hear his name called by David Stern in the first round on draft night. We’ll generally work backwards, so for the next week or two we’ll present you with players who are projected near the end of the first round, and we’ll work our way up into the lottery as June progresses. As an added bonus, we’ll also bring you a scouting take from NBADraft.net’s Aran Smith at the bottom of each player evaluation.

Note: Click here for all published 2012 NBA Draft profiles.

Player Name: Tyshawn Taylor

School: Kansas

Height/Weight: 6’3”, 185 pounds

NBA Position: Point guard

Projected Draft Range: Late First Round/Early Second Round

Tyshawn Taylor Enjoyed a Redemptive Senior Season at KU

Overview: After three years of inconsistent play, off-the-court issues, and a general lack of maturity, Tyshawn Taylor finally grew up as a senior. Racking up All-America and All-Big 12 accolades in the process, Taylor emerged as the unquestioned veteran leader of Kansas last season and helped a team with little depth reach the Final Four in New Orleans. Prior to his senior season, though, Taylor defined the word “enigma” in college basketball. Nobody ever doubted his physical talent or his playmaking abilities, but his attitude seemed questionable. He made headlines as a sophomore for his role in a fight with the football team, and Bill Self suspended him as a junior for unspecified violations of team rules. But Taylor left all of that negative press behind him as a senior. By the time the Jayhawks faced off with Kentucky in the title game, Taylor had cemented himself as one of the top point guards in college basketball. Fans could laugh at his alarming turnover rate all they wanted, but there was no denying this guy had a gift for taking games over and finding ways to get Thomas Robinson and the rest of the crew involved. Taylor left Lawrence with four outright Big 12 titles, three trips to the NCAA Tournament’s second weekend, and a Final Four appearance. Not bad for a guy who once dislocated his thumb punching players on the football team.

Will Translate to the NBA: Taylor’s physical gifts could boost him to a late first-round selection. He can bully opposing point guards with his strength or burn them with his speed, and he causes matchup problems for defenders with his top-notch scoring ability. Taylor is not a traditional pass-first point guard. Instead, he’s looking to beat you off the dribble by attacking the hoop with authority, harboring the kind of take-charge attitude scouts have to love. He may not be Steve Nash, but it’s not as though Taylor can’t get his teammates involved (4.8 assists per game as a senior). He can shoot the rock a bit, too, (38% from three-point land) and he’s known as a solid, hard-working defender. Self and his teammates also gushed about Taylor’s leadership skills this year, a sign his off-the-court troubles might be a thing of the past.

Needs Work: Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. Even the most casual observers of college basketball can tell you that’s the sole problem with Tyshawn Taylor. Early in his senior year, Taylor turned in some outrageous stat lines, most notably a 17-point, 11-turnover performance against Duke in the finals of the Maui Invitational. As the season progressed, a lot of critics harped on Taylor’s poor decision-making and inability to hold on to the basketball. At a certain point, however, even Bill Self realized you’ve got to take the good with the bad. Taylor’s tough, aggressive New Jersey playing style helped Kansas more than it hurt it, and Self could eventually live with the high turnover rate as long as he kept his 16.6 PPG scoring average afloat. Still, that won’t fly with NBA coaches. Unless Taylor finds a way to settle down, he might have a hard time getting off the bench as a pro

Comparison Players: Taylor fits the mold as an above-average athlete at the point guard position with explosive scoring ability, but lacks true lead guard awareness. While he plays with a surplus of passion, Taylor has also developed the reputation of a ‘walking turnover,’ something he needs to shake at the next level. His overall combination of skills compares favorably to a player like Jerryd Bayless, who has good size and has always shown an ability to score, but doesn’t have the decision-making skills of a true point guard. Another comparable player, one who has had more NBA success, is Philadelphia’s Lou Williams.

Best Case Scenario: Tyshawn Taylor’s size, athleticism, and competitiveness at the lead guard position have always put him in the elite category as a prospect, but nearly every player in the NBA is an elite athlete at his position. What sets point guards apart is their ability to read the floor, understand situations, and be able to attack the basket to make plays for his teammates. If Taylor can ever minimize his mistakes as a decision-maker then there’s no reason to think he can’t be a valuable contributor in the league, perhaps as a third guard that gets major minutes. He’s not likely a player that will ever be trusted with the ball in his hands for 40 minutes, but he will have the opportunity to make impressive plays on both ends, with the best case scenario being a game-changing guard coming guard off the bench.

Best NBA Fit: What would help Taylor most is if he plays for a coach who is willing to develop his offensive game and point guard skills without snapping at his poor decision-making. Given his propensity to make several boneheaded plays/passes/shots during the course of a game, he could be a player that drives a head coach nutty. But if he simply cuts down on his mistakes, coaches will also love his passion for the game and how hard he plays on both ends of the floor. Taylor is a player that really wants to do well whose best fit would be a coach that sees that potential. Somewhere like one of the lottery teams where he can attain solid minutes right away off the bench and help hone his skills would be the best fit.

Scout’s Take: (from NBADraft.net): “Few guards in the nation can match his speed and athleticism. Taylor struggles with decision making and running a team.

*This post was contributed by RTC’s Big 12 Microsite writer, Danny Spewak, and Evan Jacoby. They can be found on Twitter @dspewak and @evanjacoby.

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