They Drafted Who? – The Baseline Guide to Jeffery Taylor


I watched the NBA draft last Thursday at my friend Reed’s house, and to my shock and surprise, Vanderbilt’s Jeff Taylor fell to the Bobcats in the second round. Baylor’s Quincy Miller may have had a higher upside at the 31st pick, but to have player ranked 15th overall by DraftExpress from my school snatched up by the Bobcats couldn’t have made me happier.

So when Reed’s dad came in to check on how the Bobcats blew yet another draft pick, I proudly told him: “we got Jeff Taylor, a small forward from Vandy!” He wasn’t nearly so excited, responding, “Oh yeah, well when’s the last time a Vanderbilt player was a messiah?”

It’s a good thing I didn’t tell him Taylor is from Sweden, too.

But don’t be scared off Jeff Taylor because the most famous Vandy basketball alumni are John Amaechi and Will Perdue. And don’t be scared off because only two Swedish-born players have made it to the NBA for a grand total of three seasons. But most of all, don’t be scared off Jeff Taylor because he’s a 23-year old senior.

The second of two SEC small forwards taken by the Bobcats, Jeff Taylor doesn’t have the upside of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, but he still should be a valuable role player—or even more. How can he help the Bobcats? In his own words, Taylor is “a guy that plays extremely hard on defense, can attack the basket and finish, and is also able to hit jump shots.” Really, Taylor fits right in with what Coach Mike Dunlap is looking for: energy, defense, athleticism, and shooting.

Despite being just 6’7” with a 6’6” wingspan, Jeff Taylor is one of the more incredible athletes of the draft. Only Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquis Teague, and Miles Plumlee bettered his 40-inch vertical jump, and only three players had less body fat than him (4.2%). Not just that, but Taylor tested in the 87th percentile of all players at the draft combine for bench press and agility drills.

Taylor’s main calling card is defense, where he really shined in the SEC. In his three games against Kentucky, he held Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to a 5.7 PPG and guarded every position except center. What’s more impressive, he earned three straight SEC All-Defensive Team honors thanks to opposing players making just 26.7% of jump shots against Taylor.

He’s not all defense, though; Taylor is a versatile scorer, too. He scores most of his points driving to the rim or in transition, but Taylor is also a very efficient jump shooter—something he’s improved upon each year at college. His 49.3% shooting, including 42.3% from beyond the arch, will be welcomed with open arms in Charlotte, where he can surely find his niche.

So what did the Bobcats find in their second round pick? They’ve got an elite athlete who can be a lock down defender and knock down long-range shots. He doesn’t have the potential to be a superstar like, say, LeBron James, but he can be an extremely valuable role player like Heat teammate Shane Battier.

Sure, Jeff Taylor is the “other” rookie small forward this season, and there’s no precedent for a Swedish Commodore in the NBA. But he should make an immediate impact on both sides of the ball and has the skills to be a building block going forward alongside MKG, Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson, Bismack Biyombo, and four potential lottery picks over the next two years.

-Ben Weinrib (@benweinrib)

(Bobcats are one of the 12 worst teams in 2013; Bobcats are one of the 10 worst teams in 2014; Portland misses the playoffs in 2013 or 2014, but isn’t one of the 12 worst teams; Detroit misses the playoffs in 2014, but isn’t one of the 8 worst teams.)

So You’re Going to Draft Bradley Beal


Baseline 2012 Draft + Roster Breakdown – Part II

Last week we built out the Charlotte Bobcats ’12-’13 roster post-Thomas Robinson, this time we’ll take a look at what Rich Cho, Rod Higgins and new head coach Mike Dunlap will need to do if they go a different route.

The Scoreboard Decides the Game

Dunlap insists the Cats will be more aggressive on offense, converting easy baskets while doing their best to minimize those same shots on defense. That’s wonderful news and I’m certain that eventually the hustle plays will cut down the team’s dreadful -13.9 point differential and maybe even swing a few close games their way. In the meantime, the Cats can buy themselves a little breathing room by employing players who can increase the team’s offensive output the old fashioned way: Scoring the Damn Ball.

Bradley Beal has been compared to Eric Gordon, Ray Allen and Dwayne Wade: not only good company but rare company. There just aren’t many big-time scorers in the game. Beal instantly becomes Charlotte’s number one offensive option and most feared shooter. Concern over his 6’4″ height or with how Beal affects Gerald Henderson’s role with the team are mitigated by Beal’s ability to play both guard positions. The team’s guard rotation of Augustin, Henderson, Walker and Beal becomes one of the league’s best young backcourts.

RESULT: Charlotte selects Bradley Beal, SG Florida

Looking Forward

With the backcourt set, Charlotte will need to address depth at both the 3 and the 4 spots.

SF: Drafting Beal gives Dunlap the option to go small with Henderson playing on the far wing. He’ll need to get comfortable there because incumbant and veteran placeholder Corey Maggette is a near lock to miss a dozen or so games due to injury. Derrick Brown is a replacement level backup as well as a free agent and may not be invited back.

PF: This is why everyone’s reading Thomas Robinson as the pick. Once you pencil in Bismack Biyombo as a full-time center, the Cats collection of power forwards looks downright ugly. D.J. White is a fine backup with a nice 18 foot jumper but doesn’t defend all that well and has no post game. Tyrus Thomas? Who knows what you’re gonna get with the guy. He could end up averaging a double-double or be out of the league entirely by season’s end – how often can you say that about a six year veteran?

Again, I’m optimistic the team will get a call from Antawn Jamison’s agent come July and he’d certainly bring a much needed dose of professionalism and experience to a young team. I’m also convinced that Cho will try and trade up from the 31st pick to nab another frontcourt prospect, especially if they go Beal early. Jared Sullinger, Quincy Miller or Moe Harkless might be worth the move up.

RESULT: Charlotte signs PF Antawn Jamison to a two year $8m deal, drafts PF Quincy Miller in the late first round, extends QO to D.J. White, D.J. Augustin.

Staying Competitive

Make the moves above and you enter camp with:

  • PG: Augustin/Walker
  • SG: Henderson/Beal/Williams/Carroll
  • SF: Maggette/Miller
  • PF: Jamison/Thomas/White
  • C: Biyombo/Mullens/Diop

World Beaters? No, but a much more competitive lineup than last season especially given the boost in fire power. These Bobcats push to win 30 games, enter next year’s offseason with two 1st rounders, upwards of $30 million in cap space and lots of teal and purple (but that’s another story for another day).


NEXT UP: So You’re Going to Draft Harrison Barnes

POLL : What Should They Do with Pick #2?

  • Select Thomas Robinson (39%, 75 Votes)
  • Select Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (8%, 15 Votes)
  • Select Bradley Beal (15%, 28 Votes)
  • Select Andre Drummond (9%, 17 Votes)
  • Trade The Pick (29%, 55 Votes)

Total Voters: 190

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Should the Bobcats trade the #2 pick?


As we debate (agonize over?) the relative merits of Micheal Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal, Thomas Robinson, and Andre Drummond as potential selections for the Bobcats with the #2 pick, a tantalizing alternative has been presented.

Matt Moore of ProBasketballTalk makes a strong argument for trading the pick.  The argument boils down to this: the Bobcats desperately need both a franchise player and a more general infusion of talent; there is not a franchise player in this draft other than Anthony Davis; thus, the Bobcats should trade down in an attempt to add a couple of talented players — pieces, or assets if you will.

Moore also identifies some weaknesses in this strategy: one, while it seems unlikely at this time, it is possible that one of the above-mentioned candidates for the second pick could develop into a franchise player, which would make the Bobcats look even worse than they already do (if that’s possible); and two, that the Bobcats would be unlikely to receive full objective value back when trading away the pick.

For what it’s worth, I think the former weakness is the more important one.  Part of me thinks that the Bobcats should just decide which guy is going to be the best player, pick him at #2 and move forward.  Don’t over-complicate things.

But building an NBA team is complicated.  And the argument for trading the pick is admittedly compelling.  The next question is:  What could the Bobcats realistically get back for the second pick?

Speculation has mostly centered around the two teams with two first round picks: the Cavaliers (picks #4 and #24) and Trailblazers (picks #6 and #11).  Obviously, the first step is that one of these teams must fall in love with a player.

The Cavaliers are building around the core of Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao.  Most observers are putting the Cavaliers onto the prominent wing prospects in this draft: Bradley Beal, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Harrison Barnes.  The Cavaliers supposedly liked Harrison Barnes in last year’s draft, so if Barnes’ underwhelming 2011-12 season didn’t scare them off, they would certainly be able to sit back and get him at #4.  But if they fall for Kidd-Gilchrist or Beal, they could package #4 and #24 to move up to #2 to ensure that they get their man.

Getting #4 and #24 would be attractive for the Bobcats in that they could very likely still get Thomas Robinson at #4 (who may be the best fit anyways) and pick up an extra player/asset at #24.

The negative part of this is that the Bobcats already have pick #31, the first pick of the second round.  #24 and #31 aren’t that much different — are the Bobcats really going to give significant playing/development time next year to the #24 and #31 picks?

What you’d be hoping for is that someone who’s projected in the teens slips down to #24 so you get some real value there — Quincy Miller, for example? Or maybe you use one of those picks on a project (Fab Melo, Marquis Teague, Evan Fournier?) and stash him in the D-League/Europe while using the other pick on a more polished player who could contribute from Day 1 (Jeff Taylor, Draymond Greene, Andrew Nicholson?).

Moving on to Portland (picks #6 and #11), the Trailblazers are building around LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum.  Their biggest needs are a starting point guard and a big to pair with Aldridge.  They could try to fill those needs with #6 and #11 (Chad Ford’s Mock 6.0 has them taking Andre Drummond and Damian Lillard, respectively, while Jonathan Givony/ has them on Jared Sullinger and Kendall Marshall).

Or they could package the picks to move up to #2 to pick Thomas Robinson or Bradley Beal.  While Robinson is possibly too similar to Aldridge and thus not the greatest fit, he’s plug-and-play NBA ready.  Beal at 2-guard isn’t a primary need for the Blazers (they have Wesley Matthews there currently), but nonetheless keeps getting mentioned as as the guy that teams could really fall in love with.

Getting the sixth and eleventh picks would be supremely fun and terribly frightening for the Bobcats.  They might end up having to work out 50+ players when you add in the prospects for the #31 pick.

They could do the most Bobcatsian thing ever and pick Harrison Barnes at #6 and Tyler Zeller at #11 (harkening back to the all-Tarheels 2005 draft of Raymond Felton and Sean May).  People might riot, but those guys do fill needs — a wing and a big who meshes with Biyombo.

Or they could go with the two highest risk/reward prospects in the lottery: Andre Drummond at #6 and Perry Jones at #11 (again a big and a wing).  That would be fascinating.

Really, the possibilities are endless — the upshot is that you’re getting two lottery picks in a pretty deep draft.  And when you have as many holes as the Bobcats do, that’s probably the best move.

–Dr. E

POLL : What Should They Do with Pick #2?

  • Select Thomas Robinson (39%, 75 Votes)
  • Select Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (8%, 15 Votes)
  • Select Bradley Beal (15%, 28 Votes)
  • Select Andre Drummond (9%, 17 Votes)
  • Trade The Pick (29%, 55 Votes)

Total Voters: 190

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