Jeffery Taylor, an amazing talent, leaves you wanting more. At his best, he fits the description of the ideal small forward; smart, heady, good defender, rangy, athletic, can handle the ball some (not great, but not a liability), and can shoot some. However, he lacks consistency in all areas nearly every game.
He doesn't shoot himself in the foot with too many dumb plays or lose games with poor play, and he plays hard, so it is hard to describe. My guess is that while he is very talented, he has never truly developed a true identity. Stating all this, I think he will be a great role player at the next level and could be starter for many teams while still leaving you wanting for more. If he honed his game, he could be a Grant-Hill-lite type player – maybe the current version of Grant Hill with more explosiveness.
Taylor has all the athletic tools you want in a small forward. He possesses both great lateral quickness and straight line speed, has very strong and quick hands, and is a vertical jumping-jack. While on offense, he runs the floor well in transition and on defense he can guard both wing spots and occasionally point guards and power forwards as well. He has the athleticism to be an elite defender on the next level.
At 6’7" 225lbs, Jeffery Taylor is ideal size for the small forward position. He has strong hands and plays a physical brand of basketball against opposing guards and forwards. The only complaint with his size is a short wing-span, but the rest of his physical tools make up for it.
There have never been any whispers of anything but being a model citizen and student.
Basketball IQ and want it factor
Usually, he makes very high IQ type plays consistently throughout the game. He is not a selfish player usually knows where he needs to be. However, sometimes, he will make some really odd decisions with the ball. He plays hard, but he lacks killer instinct. In many games that comes down to the wire, he seems to fade away and rather than demand the ball. He's also missed many critical free-throws.
Taylor possesses an intriguing skill-set as an NBA prospect. I don’t think he will ever be a star unless he plays with an open system with a point guard such as a Steve Nash. However, I think he can become a solid starter.
At the next level, he'll make it alone based on his ability defensive versatility without bringing an offensive liability to the table. He plays the passing lanes well, does not get beat easily in isolation, recovers quickly, is physical, and has great hands. He's a disruptive force on defense that create turnovers and play strong fundamentally as well.
Offensively, while lacking consistency, he's improved dramatically every year. This season he shot 42% from college three and improved his ball-handling to help take advantage of his quick first step. With his elite athleticism and strength, he finishes at a high level once he gets to the rim and rarely highlighted his transition offense as he played for a slow-paced Vanderbilt team.
However, while improving from three and ball-handling, he still has many weaknesses. He shot a mere 60% from the free throw line on the season, not a good sign as a shooter and doesn't have a secondary dribble move once his initial drive is halted. He tends to make careless turnovers at inopportune times and has pedestrian court vision. If his shot is off, teams will dare him to shoot at the next level, and he must improve the consistency of his jumper.
Overall, I think Jeffery Taylor will be one of the more NBA ready players next year. He has the tools/smarts to become an elite defender at the next level. While his offense lacks consistency, he shows enough of ball-handling, shooting, and athleticism to not be a liability and have room for improvement. His game reminds me Gerald Henderson with a bit more defense and less offense. His 3 point shot has some potential, but he needs to continue to develop it.
How does he fit with the Bulls?
Maybe we can trade up and draft him and then somehow get John Jenkins, and keep the Chicago Commodores Connection going (Chicago Bears – Jay Cutler, Earl Bennett, and Chris Williams). The one thing that gives me hope with Jeffery is that he played in a slow-motion offense at Vanderbilt, and he might be better in a faster pace environment.
I don’t know if I would trade up for Taylor, because while I think he will play a long time, unless we are trading Luol Deng, we have other holes to fill. Also, he will provide many things similar to Jimmy Butler (better shooter and slightly more athletic, but not as tough/not as high of an IQ player).
Also, once draft workouts start, he will probably rise in standings due to his athletic ability and being a more safe prospect (less potential) than say a Moe Harkless, Tony Wroten, Dion Waiters, or a Quincy Miller. Jeff should be a good role player for some team and if developed right, could bust out (very slim chance, but athletic ability is there).
I like him as a pro prospect very much and if you had me choose between a Dion Waiters/Tony Wroten type player and Jeffery, I take Jeffery each time because I feel he is unselfish and is athletic enough to keep honing his offense while playing great defense.
However, as mentioned, unless the Bulls trade Luol, I would rather use assets to try and trade for a player such as an Austin Rivers, Meyers Leonard type instead (if we get in teens and players such as Jeremy Lamb are off the board). If were to go to a team such as Denver Nuggets or Phoenix Suns, then I think he could blossom.