Note: With the season fast approaching, the crew at Queen City Hoops have voluntarily taken on the task of previewing the future roles that all 15 Bobcats players will have on the team in the upcoming season. To start things out, new QCH contributor Dakota Schmidt will break down 2nd year guard Jeffrey Taylor who is hoping to get more run in the rotation with new head coach Steve Clifford at the helm.
Let’s hop in Doc Brown’s DeLorean and go back to the distant time that was July 2013. The weather was a little warmer and the news was firing into the basketball blogosphere a little hotter. While the offseason news was flaming through the basketball world, the hottest (literally) show in town was located in Vegas as the future of the NBA showed off their skills during Summer League. While the world was transfixed on some of the newly minted rookies (i.e Ben McLemore, CJ McCollum and Cody Zeller), a 2nd year forward out of Vanderbilt was making waves with his electric offensive and defensive abilities.
Just like most former Summer League hopefuls, Jefferey Taylor will have to prove that he can take that electric ability from Vegas to Charlotte as he tries to put him imprint on this team. To make that imprint, Taylor will have to try to find his place in Steve Clifford’s rotation behind the likes of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Gerald Henderson who will be transfixed in the team’s starting lineup when the season starts in November. With that said, he’ll still be able to find his way to be a fixture in that backcourt rotation because of the team’s lack of depth in that area.
As previously mentioned, Taylor wowed the Vegas audience because of his ability to be extremely solid on both sides of the ball. While he wasn’t really that great during his rookie season, Taylor showed off some flashes with his ability to hit the corner jumper or showcasing his athleticism in the open-court. Besides that corner three from the left side, Taylor was an extremely inconsistent shooter from around the rest of the court which is a clear area of concern as he enters his 2nd season. One of my own personal gripes with Taylor would be his lack of aggression in terms of penetrating to the basket. When you look at the tape from his days in Vanderbuilt or even Charlotte, you can tell that he has a quick first step while being able to work off of the dribble. Perhaps he can better utilize those skills now that Charlotte has a core of solid offensive bigs (i.e McRoberts, Zeller and Jefferson) that will allow for Taylor to create the necessary angles or openings that are needed for him to penetrate his way to the rim.
While his overall offensive game is still a work in progress, Taylor’s ability on the defensive side of the game will continue to be stout in his sophomore season. Per Synergy Sports Technology, Taylor’s opposition averaged an above average 0.96 PPP (Points Per Possession). A great majority of those plays came via spot-up opportunities which usually wouldn’t be the best way to judge Taylor’s defensive ability but he did have plenty of mental lapses where it came to leaving his opponent wide open because he was caught watching the ball. With that said, Taylor has a veteran like ability to work through off-ball screens or pick and rolls to get to his designated opponent. As his role with the Bobcats continues to grow, that ability will be crucial for his future in the league as he will have to defend some of the best shooters or athletes in the game.
Besides the likes of Kemba, MKG, Zeller and maybe Al Jefferson, Jeff Taylor will be one of the more interesting Bobcats players to watch as we enter the season. Because of his pure athletic ability and potential as a perimeter target, Taylor will have the opportunity this season to prove himself as a promising fixture in Charlotte’s rotation. With the addition of Jefferson, there’s a need for a player who can work his way to the edge of the court to either hit that open corner three or penetrate to the paint which is an ability that Taylor clearly possesses. While a majority of his role with the team hinges on the likes of MKG and Henderson, Taylor will still have a golden opportunity to continue to showcase his skills.