Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE
Orlando Pinstriped Post turns its attention to the 2012 NBA Draft with a look at mid-tier draft prospects who might be available when the Orlando Magic select 19th overall. Previously in the series: Meyers Leonard, Terrence Jones, Arnett Moultrie, Moe Harkless, Doron Lamb, and Tony Wroten.
Jeffery Taylor is a 6' 7" inch small forward, who played four seasons for the Vanderbilt Commodores, and helped lead the Commodores to the SEC Conference Tournament Championship this past season with a stunning upset over eventual national champion Kentucky, scoring 18 points with 11 rebounds.
In 32.1 minutes per game, the Sweden native, who turned 23 years old in May, averaged 16.1 points per game on 49.3% field goal shooting, including 42.3% from three-point range and 60.5% free throw shooting. Taylor also averaged 5.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals, scored in double figures in 31 of 36 games, and had seven games of 20 + points, with a high game of 30 points.
Taylor did not do well toward the end of the season though, as in the final five games he averaged just 10 points per game on 35.8% shooting and 26.1% from long range. This included a 9 point, 1 rebound effort on 4 of 12 shooting in the Commodores' loss in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Wisconsin.Despite the letdown at the end of the season, Taylor impressed for much of his senior season, and showed significant improvement in his jump shooting from his first two years at Vandy. Kyle Nelson of draftexpress.com, in his profile of Taylor, had plenty of nice things to say about Taylor, saying that Taylor should be one of the few players in this draft who should be ready to contribute immediately because of his respectable perimeter jumpshot and his lockdown defensive potential. Nelson cites Taylor's impressive lateral quickness and the strength to guard four positions at the collegiate level, and that his fundamentals are superb across the board.
There are concerns about Taylor's offensive game, despite the improvement he made in his jump shooting and his progress in developing his off-the-dribble game. Nelson says that Taylor's offense is a work in progress, as he has limitations as a shot creator, and has a tendency to disappear for long stretches of games, as Nelson used for an example the Commodores' SEC Tourney game against Ole Miss, where Taylor scored just 2 points on 1 of 5 shooting.
Despite this, Nelson thinks that Taylor can add elements to his game throughout his career because of his outstanding work ethic and intangibles.
The fact that Taylor is a 6' 7" wing who is an outstanding defender, a decent three-point shooter, and with his ability to contribute immediately, should make the Orlando Magic consider drafting him. Taylor's sometimes inconsistent play on offense and that he isn't considered a shot creator, which the Magic need, may make them pass on Taylor, though for someone who is younger with more of an upside.