2012 NBA Draft Combine Coverage: Can Kansas' Tyshawn Taylor Be a True NBA Point Guard? - June 14
Tyshawn Taylor helped lead the Kansas Jayhawks to the NCAA National Championship Game this past season. Though Kansas lost to Kentucky and fell short of cutting down the nets, a terrific senior campaign helped propel Taylor to possibly being a first-round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. One of the biggest questions regarding the Jayhawks floor general is just that: Can he be a true point guard at the NBA level?
Heading into his senior season, Taylor needed to have a breakout campaign to help his draft stock. The one-time Marquette commit played a major role for Kansas in his freshman season, but suffered through back-to-back disappointing years as a sophomore and junior before busting loose in his final go-around in Lawrence.
"Once I look back on my career and my four years and this past year, we got so close with a team that nobody thought was any good at all," Taylor said at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. "To make it that far with a team kind of undersized, under-manned, with not a lot of talent; I think we exceeded a lot of expectations, some of our own. I think looking back on that; a great career. I lost one home game. I won about 130 games, lost like 12. I had a pretty good career. I'm happy the way I left off. I wish we could have got that last game. It's a bittersweet feeling, but I feel alright about it."
Taylor is hoping his career as a winner, dating back to his high school days at St. Anthony when his team finished 32-0 his senior season, will catch the attention of NBA teams during the pre-draft process. "I think it's proven in my basketball career, from the time I started playing that I'm a winner. I've been on all winning teams and I've been big parts of all of them. I don't think any team's questioning my competitiveness at all."
What teams might be questioning is his ability to be a true point guard at the next level. One of Taylor's biggest flaws at Kansas was his poor decision-making and tendency to try to force the issue. He averaged 3.5 turnovers per game and just 4.8 assists per game, which is rather alarming when compared to some other top point guards in this draft.
Still, Taylor has no doubt that he is capable of handling the point guard responsibilities in the NBA. "I think I can be somebody who can control the tempo, play fast," Taylor confidently stated. "I think the teams that are interested in me see me more as a point, but I'm also a guy that can play some two if needed, too, because I can defend both positions. I think that's how most teams see me. I just have to create havoc defensively and if I do that, I'll be fine."
What's not up for debate is Taylor's elite athleticism, explosiveness and size (he measured 6'4" in shoes at the Combine and also boasted one of the lowest body fat percentages of any player invited.) He is also a capable shooter having hit 38.2% of his triple tries last season.
Still, that's one of the areas he has been looking to improve the most the past few months. "I think I'm a pretty good shooter. I think I've been shooting the ball really well. It's something I've been working on a lot. I think I'm becoming more consistent at it."
Consistency as a shooter will help Taylor transition to the next level. However, it's proving that he can be a true point guard and consistently make smart decisions as a distributor that will allow him to possibly sneak him into the late first round and make the most of his NBA career.
@RB#20 I disagree. They were very soft against the run to end the season, and Haloti Ngata is not anybody's solution right now. Walker is walking. Good thing Charles is still around. They need some pass rush, for sure, but i wouldn't be surprised at all to see them take a DT in the 1st if they don't like the DEs still there. They probably want a tweener who can play inside and outside, that might help patch some problems.