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After appearing in every single game (136 total) of his four year Wisconsin career, in which he won 95 games in total, guard Jordan Taylor is now looking to start his NBA career. The Bloomington, Minnesota native and two-time Bob Cousy Award finalist enters the NBA Draft looking to prove his worth as a floor general capable of running an NBA team. With doubts casted by league experts on Taylor’s ability, let’s take a look at the All-American’s game and how it should translate to the NBA.
To begin, Jordan Taylor epitomizes ball security. So much so, that Taylor is the all-time NCAA leader in assist-to-turnover ratio at 3.01. The previous record holder posted a 2.70 mark, exhibiting just how exceptional Taylor was during his time playing for the Badgers. In fact, he committed only 79 turnovers in 71 career Big Ten games for Wisconsin. This aspect of Taylor’s game should impress and intrigue NBA teams, since the value of each possession is proven to be so important in the league, especially come playoff time. Part of Taylor’s record can be credited to Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan’s meticulous offense, but at the same time, he possesses vision and decision-making skills that few can compare to. Second all-time in Wisconsin assists, Taylor’s point guard play is useful at any level of basketball and he would more than likely be able to distribute to more capable players safely in the NBA.
When looking at Taylor physically, his 6’1” height and 6’3” wingspan will not wow NBA scouts, but his strength should. At 193 pounds, Taylor often was most successful in college when he used his frame to out-muscle defenders and either finish around the rim or create space for a shot. Additionally, after being in Bo Ryan’s offense, Taylor is experienced in post-up situations.
While he is strong, he is not the quickest guard. Over his career, Taylor never showed a consistent ability to use his quickness to turn the corner and beat defenders. He does possess a heady, jerky style of attacking, which can be elusive, but it is uncertain whether that will be effective at the next level.
At Wisconsin, Taylor led consistently one of the best defenses in the country. As the point guard, Taylor anchored the Badger defense and proved a pesky opponent, earning him a spot on the 2011 Big Ten All-Defense team. Excellent basketball IQ, quick hands, and solid positioning benefited him defensively in college, but some NBA personnel have cast doubts over Taylor’s ability to defend one-on-one in the NBA, where isolations are commonplace.
The most important concern over Jordan Taylor’s NBA future is his jump shot. While shooting the ball in college, Taylor was less than impressive from the field percentage-wise. He only shot 40% from the field over his career and only 37% from long range. Taylor shot best during his junior season, with numbers of 43% from the field and 43% from deep. His three-point percentage was looking to be improving, but it dipped back down in Taylor’s senior year to 37%. Along with three-point percentage, his scoring dropped from 18.1 in his junior season to 14.8 in his senior campaign. To his credit, the Wisconsin offense consistently went on stretches where it stalled and turned upon Taylor’s late clock heroics for a lift, causing some lowered shooting and efficiency percentages. Something that can be taken from these statistics is the importance of hitting jump shots in Taylor’s game. When knocking shots down, his drive to the basket becomes more effective because the defense gets drawn out of position to contest Taylor.
Leading up to the draft, Taylor competed in the Portsmouth Invitational, where senior prospects play in front of NBA eyes. Reports were mixed about his performance in Portsmouth, but one thing is for sure, the guard crop in this year’s draft class is the weakest of recent memory. With few sure fire bets in the draft, someone like Jordan Taylor’s maturity could help him manage the jump to the league better than some of the more hyped prospects.
With the ability to run a team without errors and put teammates in beneficial positions, Taylor could be compared to Chris Duhon in the NBA. An eight year NBA point guard, Duhon possesses similar size and playing style to Taylor and was also a four-year winner in college for Duke. While Jordan Taylor’s career has come to an end at Wisconsin, it will be exciting for Badger fans to monitor his progress as he makes the transition to professional basketball and hopefully the NBA.
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