Tyshawn Taylor: First Step Is The Hardest (SEASON GRADE)

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By the numbers: 38 G, 0 GS, 5.8 MPG, 2.2 PPG, 0.5 RPG, 0.6 APG, 0.3 SPG, .368 FG%, .462 3P%, .556 FT%, .430 TS%, .402 eFG%

Advanced: 6.2 PER, 80 ORtg, 106 DRtg, 25.8 USG%, 1.1 ORB%, 8.6 DRB%, 4.8 TRB%, 15.9 AST%, 3.2 STL%, 20.2 TOV%, -0.5 estimated wins added

Anyone not named Deron Williams who plays point guard for the Brooklyn Nets over the next four seasons is in a lucky and unlucky position all at once.

Lucky, because backing up Deron Williams gives that player (especially if they are young or inexperienced) an opportunity to learn from one of the game’s best at that position. Competing with Williams in practice, studying him in games, and speaking with him about the intricacies of the position is best learning experience you can have. Sort of like an NBA version of The Apprentice, with Williams serving as Donald Trump.

But, on the flipside, you are in the unlucky position because, for all of those reasons above, point guard for the Brooklyn Nets is Deron’s position. He owns it, and will continue to for the foreseeable future. He owns the minutes too: 36 of them. And, when there is one other veteran point guard ahead of you on the depth chart, seeing court time in NBA games starts to feel like a daunting task.

Welcome to your NBA life, Tyshawn Taylor.

WATCH: Tyshawn Taylor’s Overtime Heroics

The Nets drafted Taylor in the 2nd round of the 2012 NBA draft. Taylor came to the Nets with one of the finest basketball pedigrees you can have. He’s been a winner his entire competitive life. He played his high school ball at esteemed St. Anthony’s High School in Jersey City and then four years of college at the equally esteemed Kansas University. In those eight years Taylor had an astonishing 229-31 record and won two National Championships.

For all that success, however, Taylor did not make much of an impression in his first season. Healthy all season, Taylor only appeared in 38 games and played a total of 220 minutes and spent most of the season being shuttled back and forth between the big club and the Nets’ D-League affiliate the Springfield Armor. He shined in moments in Springfield, though with an itchy trigger finger. To stick at the NBA level, he’ll need to cut down on his turnovers (very doable) and finish stronger around the rim — Taylor finished the season an abhorrent 17-53 (32.1%) on shots within five feet.

HIGH POINT: The story of Taylor’s season is about his non-play, but when Taylor did see extended minutes, he impressed, most notably against the Indiana Pacers on February 11. With Williams sidelined, Taylor played 34 minutes and scored 12 points including four HUGE points in overtime to help seal a Nets win.

LOW POINT: Hard to pick when most of his minutes consisted of garbage time, but his 0-2, three-turnover performance in just 4:04 of court time against the 76ers in January sticks out.

MY FAVORITE MOMENT: Anytime Taylor did anything of note in a game, he relished in the media horde that surrounded him. He was simultaneously poised and excitable, always ready to let his mouth run a little faster than his mind and babble on about how good his teammates are or he was. After being an alpha dog at Kansas, the transition from star to rookie wasn’t easy for Taylor, and those moments when he was the center of attention brought out the best in him. -D.K.

MY FAVORITE MOMENT, PART II: The three holsters after hitting a game-clinching three in the “garbage game” against the Washington Wizards.

Final Grade:

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Full List:
Deron Williams | Joe Johnson | Gerald Wallace | Reggie Evans | Brook Lopez | Andray Blatche | C.J. Watson | Keith Bogans | Kris Humphries | MarShon Brooks | Mirza Teletovic | Tyshawn Taylor | Tornike Shengelia