Atlanta Hawks: Prospect focus: Vanderbilt’s Jeffery Taylor

Here’s something different: An NBA hopeful who’s about defense.

“I think it’s more of a mental thing,” said Vanderbilt wing Jeffery Taylor. “It’s more about how you approach the game. I think a lot of guys nowadays don’t really value defense. It’s all about scoring, the highlight plays and whatnot. My dad always instilled in me a defensive mentality. You need to be prideful in what you do on the court, and part of having pride is not letting someone score on you.”

Taylor was voted to the SEC’s all-defense team three times, joining Mississippi State’s Jarvis Varnado as the only players in league history to do so. He says he’s been a “big fan of [Thabo] Sefolosha for a long time.”

“I think defense is kind of like a lost art, almost,” Taylor said. “If you look at Sefolosha in the playoffs, he’s playing tremendous defense. He’s making a lot of key plays for them. A wing defender that’s good at what he does and can score the ball as well is a valuable asset.”

Taylor’s focus on defense has paid off. His potential at that end is what makes him a possible first-round pick in a league where perimeter scorers predominate and wing defenders are valuable.

Hawks assistant GM Dave Pendergraft said Taylor has the athleticism and basketball IQ to be an “above-average” defender but noted Taylor’s prowess didn’t jump out at him while watching video.

“He has that reputation of being one of the better defenders in the NCAA, and he looked like a good defender but it’s not like he strikes fear in you,” Pendergraft said. “We bring him here [for a workout] and watch his footwork and how quick he is, you can see it really up close. He’s got really quick feet and he’s very, very strong and very athletic.

“He is one of the better defenders in college basketball. Does it transfer over to the NBA? You’d like to think so because he does have quick feet and he has good size. I don’t think there is a lot of negatives. He does have average length but there have been a lot of good defenders with average length if they a have quick feet but he understands the angles.”

That’s where the comparisons to Sefolosha and Taylor end. Taylor is shorter than Sefolosha and not nearly as long–he has a relatively short 6-6 wingspan.

On the plus side, Taylor is more athletic than Sefolosha and potentially a better shooter.

“The surprising things is how well he shoots it,” Pendergraft said. “When you go from [22] percent to [43] percent as senior [on 3-pointers], he’s made great strides shooting the ball. Towards the end of season at Vandy I expected it to go in. It was the same thing here [for workouts]. In all the shooting drills he was at a high percentage.”

Even when Taylor wasn’t making shots he was still an efficient scorer because of a good free-throw rate (in spite of a poor free-throw percentage. A DraftExpress.com analysis showed that Taylor was a high-efficiency, low-usage scorer in transition at Vandy.

Taylor had a high turnover rate, however, because he’s a shaky ball-handler.

“It’s definitely something I need to work on,” he said. “That’s probably one of my main focuses right now.”

Taylor’s dad, Jeff, was a guard at Texas Tech and played 56 games in the NBA before starting a career in Europe. Jeffery Taylor was born and raised in Sweden and came to the U.S. when he was 17; he has dual citizenship.

“That was a bit of a culture shock,” he said. “The U.S. is a lot different from Sweden: culture, people, school. I was having a culture shock experience for the first five or six months but then I got used to it and it wasn’t a big deal.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

195 comments Add your comment

TMACfan

June 26th, 2012
8:18 pm

NBA TV just had a segment on Harison Barnes and said he will be atleast as good as Marvin Williams with Tracy McGrady upside.

This makes no sense at all. I am quoting that from NBA TV.

If someone wants Marvin Williams 2.0, they can pick up Marvin Williams for a draft pick or better, FOR FREE!!

Najeh Davenpoop

June 26th, 2012
8:25 pm

There is always a place in the NBA for a perimeter defender who can shoot. Seems like a pretty safe pick, although maybe not the one with the most upside.

Rod from College Park

June 26th, 2012
8:31 pm

“Jamal Crawford was every bit a part of Portland’s bad season as anybody there…”

I guess that’s why Jamal took his starting job halfway thru the season, playing point guard,a position that everyone knows he should not play. SMH

hawksfancents95

June 26th, 2012
8:36 pm

i like jeffery taylors stance on defense and pride. i do think, however, we can get a perimeter defender at #43 like darius miller that can be a solid role player for us in his first year and that would allow us to get a prospect for the future with a lot of potential at #23. someone will fall to #23 as random players will get drafted no1 expects i.e OLB Bruce Irvin by SEA Seahawks pick #15 in this past NFL draft. so im sure some teams ahead of us might make a surprise foreign pick or someone not really tauted as a 1st round player.

Will

June 26th, 2012
8:41 pm

He’s a guy I really like. He could immediately fill a role as a solid defender while becoming a dependable perimeter shooter. At 23 that’s pretty good value. I think he could potentially give us what Marvin does fairly quickly. Even though Marvin is taller and longer, he seems to hunch over most of the time and doesn’t seem to play to his length imo.

Melvin

June 26th, 2012
8:49 pm

Not impress with Jeffery Taylor. Get me Quincy Miller in here….

Melvin

June 26th, 2012
8:52 pm

Why the heck would Charlotte trade the expiring contract of Corey Maggette for Ben “Big Contract” Gordon?

Ra'mon

June 26th, 2012
8:55 pm

So I am the only one who think he sounds too close to Mo Evans to draft?

Ra'mon

June 26th, 2012
8:59 pm

Melvin, Charlotte got a first round pick for next year’s draft in the deal as well. Detroit will not be a playoff team. So Charlotte just picked up an extra lottery pick in a draft that will be very deep next season. So to go along with last year’s pick in Walker, they have a good pick this season, and two coming next year.

brigadierjerry

June 26th, 2012
8:59 pm

have a feeling this blog is going to explode thursday night depending if the fans player is picked or not.

who are ur top 6 guys u guys want the hawks to pick?

Just Joe

June 26th, 2012
9:01 pm

Detroit pick is lottery protected next year….top 8 in 2014….1st overall in 2015….then unprotected in 2016.

Ray

June 26th, 2012
9:01 pm

At #23 Jeff Taylor is actually pretty good for us him or The Vandy C.

brigadierjerry

June 26th, 2012
9:02 pm

have a feeling marvin and josh or horford will be gone before season starts.

also hawks will pick best player available that can play right away.

brigadierjerry

June 26th, 2012
9:05 pm

hi-sider,

who is a better player jason terry or crawford?

Meidzo

June 26th, 2012
9:12 pm

I absolutely love Miles Plumlee as a sleeper. He averaged 7 and 7 (not the drink you alcoholics) playing only 20 mins at Duke. (Coach K?) He measured almost an inch and a half taller than D12 did in shoes (6′ 11 3/4″)and he had a 34″ inch standing vertical and a 40 1/2″ max vertical (one of the best ever for a 7 footer). Notice guys don’t start great defensive positioning and taking charges in the NBA, they start in college. The Heat just showed you don’t need Mutombo in the middle and I know DF will get the right coach in here. This guy will play well and not need the ball (basically the Anti-Smoove).

Melvin

June 26th, 2012
9:18 pm

Ra’mon,

Good point on the Bobcats/Pistons trade. I overlooked the draft pick the Bobcats are getting. I like that trade better from them now.

Nilo

June 26th, 2012
9:23 pm

Do not want. Don’t want Ezeli either.

Melvin

June 26th, 2012
9:29 pm

Just tuned in the NBA Combine on ESPN. Caught Wroten shooting the last 3 racks of 3pt shots. I say he was at least 50-60%. However, he does not look like a natural shooter at all but I can see him playing some SG with his size and skill set….

SteveW

June 26th, 2012
9:46 pm

ESPN reported Houston is looking to trade for Josh Smith in an effort to acquire D12. I wonder if Dalembert and Lowry for Josh would be a good trade? The salaries match really well.

They then trade their 3 first picks and maybe Scola and other young pieces to Orlando for Dwight.

Maybe it works for them, maybe it doesn’t.

And if Budinger pulls in a #18 pick (the ‘Wolves also get the rights to some guy I’ve never heard of – but he may be good, I just don’t know) – Marvin should be worth the #24 pick of the Cavs, the 30th and maybe the 35th pick of the Warriors, or the #33 and 34 picks of the Cavs.

Let the other team have the rights to Gladyr, Akoyl, and a bag of chips also.

SteveW

June 26th, 2012
9:52 pm

Brigadeir Jerry – I’m not HS, but I would say Jason Terry over his career. I think Jamal may be a little younger, so Jamal maybe right now.

I was never for the Jason Terry trade from the Hawks…

SteveW

June 26th, 2012
9:58 pm

Marvin Williams is the key to our cap space future really, in a sense – if you can dump him – and I think GSW and the Cavs can absorb his contract, and get a decent pick, our cap space looks like:

JJ – 22 mill average
Al – 12 mill
Josh – 15 mill
ZaZa – 6 mill
Teague – 6 mill

That’s 61 mill – for 5 players – the rest of it is survivable. But realistically, I think the Hawks ditch Josh moving forward. But I have no idea who or what they get for him.

SteveW

June 26th, 2012
10:00 pm

Funny we talk about how terrible Jamal is on this blog, how he wouldn’t have made a difference against the Celts, and that he plays no D, and the Celts are all about D etc.

But it’s being reported that the Celts are interested in Jamal. Somebody in Beantown likes him

Astro Joe

June 26th, 2012
10:00 pm

I wonder if Dalembert and Lowry for Josh would be a good trade?

No, that would be a GREAT trade. A top 10 PG still in his prime and a serviceable center with above average shotblocking ability? Two starters for Josh? Move Teague to a SMOY candidate role (like Lou Williams) and allow him to stop worrying about being a pure PG and just let him loose for around 28 minutes/game? Yeah, that would be a very nice trade. But they will likely try to hold on to Lowry, Martin and 2 of their 3 picks for D12.

Miller seems to be moving down in several mock drafts. I wonder if his leg is an issue. Taylor’s upside is his ability to improve his dribble and become an Afflalo type player. It would be dangerous to put him in the backcourt if his handle is weak and he may not be big enough to even annoy Lebron, Granger, Pierce, Melo or Deng (dang, there are some high-powered SFs in our conference).

SteveW

June 26th, 2012
10:01 pm

I’m not sure that a Jeff Taylor/Darius Miller combination at the 3 doesn’t give you about what Marvin gives us.

Astro Joe

June 26th, 2012
10:04 pm

I’ve never seen Wroten play… his jumper would need to be seriously broken to hold that against him at the bottom of the 1st round. A ton of guys enter the league with a shaky jumper. The list is far too long to even get started (although Billups comes to mind). My guess is there are other concerns. At 6′6″ with reputed strong defensive and passing skills… that just seems like a guy worthy of serious consideration. And he is part of the last group of workouts, so he gets to leave an impression with the new boss a day or so before the draft.

brigadierjerry

June 26th, 2012
10:04 pm

steve w

i agree with u with terry. i have asked hi-sider this question three time he has yet to answer but oh well.

yeah terry shouldve never got traded but coach and team was a mess back then

SteveW

June 26th, 2012
10:07 pm

AJ – But you know, Scola, KMart, 3 mid level 1st rounders and maybe some other filler for D12 is a pretty good deal for the Magic.

Especially if Dwight is just a 1 year rental.

But I could see Houston, if they really wanted D12, giving us Lowry and Dalembert for Josh.

Lang Greene has been saying look to Houston to trade Josh for ages.

I could deal with a team of:

Dalembert/ZaZa
Al/Ivan
Marvin/Taylor
JJ/?
Lowry/Teague

Pretty solid and well balanced.

SteveW

June 26th, 2012
10:14 pm

If Houston pulled off those 2 trades, re-signed Dragic and Lee, they have a team of:

D12
Josh
Morris
Lee
Dragic

With Patrick Patterson, Chandler Parsons and some other guys – that is not a bad team.

hmmmm.........

June 26th, 2012
10:14 pm

I heard Houston might to move try Lowry as well, they have goran dragic. I’d hate to see smith go but the Hawks need to shake up the roster i’d see JJ or Marvin leave

brigadierjerry

June 26th, 2012
10:14 pm

if josh or horford get traded before season shows hawks are changing course. lets face it sometimes time to move on when a group such as this is together too long without any tangible results.

i also dont see if josh is traded some big decrease in fan attendance because josh is traded and josh is considered most popular player. i think depending on type of moves it will bring some life to fanbase

cp

June 26th, 2012
10:21 pm

Im not a big fan of Taylor’s. Its a good video on youtube showcasing his handle and it is not pretty. He cant create his own shot. Its a good scouting video of him on youtube. Its also on draftexpress. His shooting percentages off the dribble was really really low. A lot of mocks have him falling to the second. Im not a fan of the center from Vandy either. A lot of mocks think he might be available in the second round too because of his injury history and terrible hands. He was also a poor rebounder

If Harkless falls thats who the Hawks should take. If he is gone then take Q Miller. I would love Cunningham in the second round.

DawgNole

June 26th, 2012
10:21 pm

Najeh Davenpoop
June 26th, 2012
3:51 pm

I would trade Marvin for MWP straight up, but I wouldn’t include the #23. MWP may be a serial criminal or whatever, but on a team full of nice guys, that may not be a bad thing.
____________________

It may not be a bad thing, but he’s no help to his team while he’s serving suspensions for assault.

cp

June 26th, 2012
10:21 pm

Dragic is a free agent so the Rockets might not be willing to trade Lowry because they dont know if they can bring Dragic back.

steven a smith

June 26th, 2012
10:23 pm

Mickael Petrus and Brandon Roy could solidify this bench for 3 years. Both are superb “Team Players”

PG Steve Nash/Teague/Machado
SG Joe Johnson/T-Mac
SF Petrus/Roy/Marvin
PF Thomas Robinson/ivan Johnson
C Zsa Zsa/Meyers Leonard

DawgNole

June 26th, 2012
10:23 pm

Dang, MC’s been a bloggin’ fool this week. I can’t get caught up with one before he shuts it down and moves on to the next. Not saying that’s a bad thing–just a bit different from customary.

cp

June 26th, 2012
10:26 pm

People not showing up to games if Josh is traded has become some sort of myth on here. People didnt come to games when the Hawks won 50 games. They didnt come when the Hawks had one of the best home records in the league. Even the Nique years has become a myth. I think someone posted the numbers once and the attendance was pretty much the same after the Nique trade but let some guys on here tell it folks stopped coming because Nique was no longer here which isnt true at all.

Wannabe hawks fan

June 26th, 2012
10:43 pm

I am so sick of hearing the Josh talk. Give me Carmelo for Joe and actually get a scorer in here. 22 mil for a guy that averages 19 pts a game is stupid and as far as that goes Marv and his 8 pts a game could go as well. Joe is the albatross around the hawks mech not Josh( one of the leagues better defenders). Carmelo and the nicks don’t see eye to eye and we need a scorer. Ou defense is fine until you remove Josh.

glw

June 26th, 2012
10:47 pm

@ SteveW

I agree with you, getting rid of Marvin is the key to the Hawks having cap flexibility. I think Ferry might hold off on a Josh trade wanting to learn the team a bit more before making any big moves.

As I have stated in previous blogs and as the Ben Gordon trade confirms, the only way to dump Marvin is to include an asset in the deal which might would be a future 1st rd pick.

One deal I would consider is:

Marvin for Jamal and a No.1 draft pick next year Jamal would give us a scorer off the bench and makes 3 million less which can go toward signing another quality player.

Najeh Davenpoop

June 26th, 2012
11:03 pm

“So Charlotte just picked up an extra lottery pick in a draft that will be very deep next season.”

That pick is lottery protected next season. The protection steadily erodes after that until 2016 when it is unprotected. So chances are Charlotte is going to get that pick 2 or 3 years from now.

High-sider

June 26th, 2012
11:12 pm

@Just Joe

“High-sider….Crawford opts out before free agency, so Hinrich can’t be used.

When it comes to Hinrich….Lakers need a PG. A Hinrich sign and trade for part of the Odom trade exception and a future pick would be outstanding.” – Just Joe @7:16pm dated 6/26/2012

Just Joe, thanks for the info.
—————————————————————————————–

@donte080

“re: Blazers “failed experiment” Ray Felton…..

Jamal Crawford was every bit a part of Portland’s bad season as anybody there…” – donte080 @7:43pm dated 6/26/2012

So what would you call Kirk Hinrich’s regular and post season scoring averages of 6.6ppg and 5.7ppg for the 2011-2012 campaign – “all that and a bag of chips”? No, you wouldn’t. If you (donte080) were (to be) honest, his (Hinrich’s) regular and post season performances this past season were lackluster at best.

Will

June 26th, 2012
11:59 pm

@ cp

Harkless didn’t show up for his workout with us because he got a promise from another team. We’d likely have to trade up for him.

http://www.scoreatl.com/stories/hawks-scout-crowder/

tjhook

June 26th, 2012
11:59 pm

Why is everybody so eager to break up this team?! The team played more consistently this season; the fatal flaw was not being able to maintain structure when they faced the top teams in the league. They especially had issues when games were close late because the two top talents fell back on bad habits: Iso-Joe for Johnson, long two-pointers from Smith. The Hawks need an on-court leader.
I am trying to state the case for Andre Miller. He is what the Hawks need and this link from the Bleacher Report says it almost better than I can. Mark Bradley- float this idea to Danny Ferry
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1236792-debating-the-most-overrated-nba-free-agents-on-the-market#/articles/1234491-2012-nba-free-agency-predicting-the-biggest-steal-at-every-position/page/2

tjhook

June 27th, 2012
12:04 am

Besides, we have been trying to fill the leadership void at point guard ever since the Hawks traded for Bibby in 2007. Miller is hungry enough and has enough status in the league to get all the players on the Hawks to follow his lead. And we won’t have to worry about Larry Drew playing politics with this guy because LD already has his issues with Teague.
DANNY FERRY- Please don’t trade the core yet! Give them a leader who can help us get to the next level. Andre Miller! Please don’t put JSmoove on a plane somewhere else- give the team a chance.

random

June 27th, 2012
12:13 am

tj hook its gonna be ok dont cry when they break them up haha

Will

June 27th, 2012
12:27 am

@tjhook

6 players currently under contract
VERY little cap space
the luxury tax for going over the cap is about to get much more punitive
no one wants Josh to leave without getting something for him

TMACfan

June 27th, 2012
12:46 am

hawks please take a long look at Wroten

tjhook

June 27th, 2012
12:54 am

@will,

it’s already been established that we will pick up an additional player in the draft. After that, we have the chance to bring in a player under the exception. That’s where we can bring in Miller. I just see it as being premature to break up a group that clearly had shaky performances at the point guard position. Along with coaching staffs that have had mixed results in constructing mature offenses.
I would like Ferry to at least look at the team and if he decides Smith is too valuable to release or a piece to trade then at least we can a get a pick for him in midseason. Larry Drew has not proven he can lead a team and we don’t need to let his trial period linger longer. Let him run his group one more time before deciding to break the deal.

tjhook

June 27th, 2012
12:56 am

Besides, Collins will want to come back and I think once again, we can get rotational players to fill in the roster out

tjhook

June 27th, 2012
1:00 am

@ random

You, my friend, I hope are wrong. Josh Smith is not the problem- he just hasn’t helped us get the final solution (on court leadership)

Grandad

June 27th, 2012
1:07 am

Two Danny Ferry type players [i.e.; San Antone]
he may consider at #23:

* Draymond Green;
A player with one of the most unique skill-sets in the NCAA,
Mich State’s D.Green is a college Center
with the height of a small forward, the passing skills of a point guard,
the rebounding tenacity of a power forward
and the scoring repertoire of an old school pivot.
However, Green’s best attributes clearly revolve around
his phenomenal basketball IQ.

(*!*) also (*!*)

* Doron Lamb:
49% of his 5.3 three point field goal attempts per 40 minutes adjusted,
which technically ranks him as the best shooter in college basketball.
[*last season / 2012]