Draft profiles: Jeffery Taylor, 6'7, 225 lbs., SF, Vanderbilt, Senior

Draft profiles: Jeffery Taylor, 6'7, 225 lbs., SF, Vanderbilt, Senior

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.

Athletic Ability

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.

Size

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.

Off-Court Issues

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.

Skill

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

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.  

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  • I haven't seen him play at all, but based on your description, it sounds like he could be a very similar player to Andre Igguodala.

  • In reply to NateTags:

    I don't think he is nearly as aggressive offensively, can handle the ball nearly as well, and can do all the step-back jumpers that AI can. He is a better set shooter and still has room for development though.

    Defensively, he should be pretty good and probably pretty similar.

  • Thanks for the review Kevin. Ironically it's the limitations of players that partly draws you to them scheming for a bargain creme puff in a lemon riddled lot of late first round picks. Jeff Taylor and John Jenkins, both with their share of dings, but also exceptionally built models(athletes) in their own way.

    Another reason to be drawn in, you to kill two birds with one stone watching a Vandy squad where their underdog status butting heads with Kentucky proved doubly compelling.

    We'll leave John Jenkins for another day as I'm guessing Kevin will do a profile of perhaps thee best three point shooter in college basketball.

    Two things I'll always be swayed by in terms of prospects are elite athleticism and notable personality as in presence and character. Jeff has plenty of both. In the former he posesses terrific speed and great leaping ability. Oddly though, he misses a surprising number of layups as I noticed that as a trend developed game after game. I imagine this is due to his relatively short arms?.But straight line he has a very, very nice innitial burst to free himself for layups including some powerful dunks with good height. And in transition he looks capable switching hands and juking effectively to the basket.

    As for character and presence, look at the SEC championship game against Kentucky. Terrence Jones, who wears a permanent scowl game in game as if it were required like a nose protector mask, bodied up Taylor on an out of bounds play ramming his chest with two stiff forearms. Jeff, not intimidated by the national spotlight or Calipari's traveling all-stars, shoved him off forcefully dismissing Jones with a tight lipped battle face of his own. Jimmy Cagney, um, make that Tony Montana(Scarface) would have been proud.

    Jeff Taylor on senior's night again, his character stands out beaming as he embraced his old school, gritty but vulnerable, Vandy head coach Kevin Stallings. Less the slick huckster, the anti-Calipari if you will, Stallings is willfull but surprisingly yielding like a movie version of a killer used car salesman yet with a heart who won't take you for a ride if you really don't want to or deserve to go. Perhaps that's why the two, imperfect player and coach, ended up in the same place chasing windmills in Cal's kingdom of one and done NBA knights like Sir Benjamin(Davis) and Earl of Cha Ching(Kid Gilchrist). Meanwhile clunky, old fashioned senior night sees Taylor's parents appearing old school as in humble and unaffected despite the pot of gold emerging in the background known as the NBA draft.

    One parallell for Taylor to invision his NBA role might be Bruce Bowen. Both scored less in college and shot somewhat poorly and inconsistently on free throws. Both shot unimpressively on three pointers, but for one season. Both are exceptional defensive capable players with limited offensive skills. Except that short wingspan of Taylor's.

    Final thoughts: while I like Jeff Taylor a lot and what he brings in athleticism and intangibles, he does have entire games where offensively he just doesn't show up. The low free throw percentages are troubling especially this late in the game 60% as a senior. Hardly a prolific scorer for most of his four years. However, due to his overall character and competitiveness, exceptional athleticism, and certain definable offensive capabilities, while not my first choice for a club that needs an offensive force, I think he will very likely make a good pro possibly eventually finding his way into a winning situation

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Also, they'd probably have to trade up as Taylor is expected to go in the early twenties.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I do agree that he can be had by moving up to high 20's and would contemplate it depending on how draft goes.

  • I think he is much more athletic than Bruce Bowen and has some more offensive talents. I do appreciate your detailed input and you have quite the writing style.

  • Speaking of Meyers Leonard, I wonder if the Bulls would trade Asik + the 29th pick to move up and grab him. Seems like something they would do just to be cheap and seeing how he's a hometown guy and all.

  • Leonard has rare offensive tools for a big no doubt, but according to most mocks he will be gone by the late teens. I'm guessing we might see a draft profile coming on the hometown kid, so to speak.

  • I will be posting an article on Leonard soon. I don't think you can pre-trade Asik for him. However, he is a great talent. Based on size and athletic ability alone, he should make it to the league. How special he becomes - that is a debate.

  • In reply to kevinstates:

    Not sure that you trade a 7 footer that you know can play championship caliber defense in the NBA for a guy who was an enigma if not a quasi bust for a bumbling Illini program.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I am sure. You can't.

  • News I'm sure BigWay will enjoy: Carlos Boozer got a vote for the all-defensive team. This is why Vinny shouldn't get a vote just for being a head coach. ;)

  • I like Jeffrey Taylor's athleticism. I saw him play in 2 games this past season. The first was early in the year around November against Louisville when he had a very poor performance. Festus Ezeli was out and you would think that he would take the team on his shoulders as a senior leader with his explosiveness and scoring ability and high expectations for his team as a top 10 team at that time. But he was very passive and even passed up opportunities to take key shots at the end of the game, possibly because of poor free throw shooting. Then I saw him again in the SEC championship in March against Kentucky. He played much better there. But he still seems very passive offensively when you would hope at this point for him to want the ball and try to take over with his athleticism and decent outside shooting especially against the athletes from Kentucky. He reminds me a little more physically of Shawn Marion than Grant Hill when Marion first came out of school from UNLV but without the agressive takeover mentality of Marion. He and Marion are about the same height and weight. Jenkins, without half of Taylor's athletic ability, is the one on that Vanderbilt team who took the important shots and fought to keep the team going forward when there was adversity. If Taylor focuses on being a defensive stopper kind of like what Marion is now, I think he will have a fine NBA career. I'm not sure that is what the Bulls need though.

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