Friday, June 29, 2012


To stick in the NBA, Taylor must defend


Wayne Simien, Julian Wright, Brandon Rush, Darrell Arthur, Xavier Henry, Cole Aldrich, Marcus and Markieff Morris, and Thomas Robinson. Two centers, five power forwards and two small forwards out of Kansas University have been chosen in the first round of the NBA draft since the last guard, Kirk Hinrich in 2003, earned the honor.

Mario Chalmers didn’t go until the second round, 34th overall, with the Miami Heat in 2008, Sherron Collins not at all in 2010. NBA teams don’t worry as much about finding guards to fill out their rosters, so it should not have startled anyone that blurry quick Tyshawn Taylor lasted until the 41st pick by the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night.

Taylor plays with passion, has the length and quickness to defend both guard positions and blow by defenders, but as a prospect, he doesn’t bring as much as Chalmers did. He’s not as complete a player, doesn’t have as reliable a jumper and isn’t as creative a passer.

To stick in the NBA and play in front of Brooklyn crowds that will include family members and high school friends and opponents, Taylor will need to embrace the role of becoming a defensive pest in the NBA the way Brady Morningstar did as his teammate in college. He’ll need to be the guy who, when his coach scans the bench in search of a guy to give an opposing point guard or shooting guard a different look, settles on him.

Taylor needs to become the defender who slows down guys that on paper shouldn’t have any trouble scoring on him, the way Morningstar consistently did as a big-time Big 12 defender.

“I think so,” Taylor said of defending both guard spots being his meal ticket. “I think that’s what’s going to get me my minutes early on, going out there and defending.”

Taylor didn’t hesitate when asked which NBA player he looks forward to defending more than any other.

“Rondo,” he said of the Boston Celtics’ point guard, first name Rajon. “I want to play against Rondo because I love his game and think he’s the best point guard in the league. I’m competitive and I look forward to playing against the best.”

If watching Meyers Leonard, a 7-foot-1 project from Illinois, go to Portland with the 11th pick might have given KU center Jeff Withey reason to pause and contemplate his decision to come back for his senior year, watching Taylor tumble into the second round should have confirmed to Elijah Johnson that he made the right call.

Johnson brings more savvy to the court than Taylor, has a thicker build, potentially a better jump shot and is a more natural point guard, but he needed another season to prove he has the game to break KU’s first-round guard drought.

Withey, too, could improve his stock by adding muscle and range on his jumper. It’s possible KU could have multiple first-round picks for what would be the fourth time in six years in 2013.


ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 1 month ago

He must defend and pray Williams goes to the Mavs.

And why no mention of Selby as a second round guard?

jhox 10 years, 1 month ago

I believe he'll be better than Mario. While he doesn't have ice water in his veins like Mario, he is faster, defends on the ball better, and has a better motor. Mario tends to get passive and disappear at times. Taylor may make mistakes, but he is never, ever passive. I hope he gets a fair opportunity to play. If he does the Nets will have a very good player on their hands.

april28 10 years, 1 month ago

As much as I hate comparing Jayhawks, Tyshawn does seem to have some serious upside. The Heat tried for a couple of years to minimize Mario and just couldn't deny him a role. I think that Brooklyn will go the other way and embrace Tyshawn, which should help his development. Also, playing for Avery should be good for TT. He landed in a great spot. Though, if Perry Ellis hadn't dropped so far, I still think that the Thunder would have taken him in the first round.

april28 10 years, 1 month ago

Did I just write Perry Ellis? Okay, time for more coffee.

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 1 month ago

You realize you can now edit after you post.

Ron Franklin 10 years, 1 month ago

"NBA teams don’t worry as much about finding guards to fill out their rosters, so it should not have startled anyone that blurry quick Tyshawn Taylor lasted until the 41st pick by the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night."

Tom--don't quite get your logic when 5 of the first 10 players selected were guards & 13 of the first 30 were guards??

The reason Kansas hasn't had a guard selected since 2003 has nothing to do with what the NBA is doing and has everything to do with what the Kansas staff (has been) is doing--or has not been doing.

My opinion is that we can't land the big time guards--and the guards we do get, we don't develop as successfully as Danny did with the bigs.

Carl Anderson 10 years, 1 month ago

Blown - really bugs me that your comment rings so true. Hoopla Collins, not even drafted. Selby became the invisible Jayhawk, then gets drafted anyway, apparently based on the upside that we didn't utilize. Don't like to admit to any chinks in HCBS's armor, but you're right about our guards & our guard play.

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 1 month ago

Was Head Coach Roy Williams successful at recruiting guards to KU that went to the NBA? Just curious. I know he gets some of that at UNC, but when he was at KU did he?

My question is it really a product of the NBA hype and upside? I look at someone like Austin Rivers who really didn't play very well through the season, has some ability, has some spark, but is he NBA caliber today...the answer is no, but he has upside. I'll tell you the number 4 draft pick this year was on the bench. UK had a 6th person drafted straight off their bench. The analysis you bring is a product of hype from some of the media.

The media sits around and looks for things that support their cause. They forget that in the 4 years TT was at KU, KU won 127 game (nearly 32 a year).

Look at even T Rob, I have heard he is the most NBA ready player in the draft, that one other player had more upside, but he fell to #5.

There is bias in the media, and KU still puts one or two first rounders in the NBA every year.

I think KU fans still like it when players like TT come and stay for a few years.

Under Roy Williams I believe that Paul Pierce was the first player to leave as an underclassman in his recruiting class...I believe that was in 97/98, ten years after Roy Williams started coaching at KU.

Let's not blame this all on the coaching staff, HCBS deserves some credit for developing solid talent and keeping us competitive year in and year out.

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 1 month ago

I think that the nets are going to do some really good things and there is a pretty good chance D. Howard could be there. If that were the case, I'm sure TT would find a way or two to get the ball down to him...he surely did with TRob.

And how many of you were looking at the pick when Sacramento was picking and TT was the best available player...thinking wow TT to TRob for another few years, wouldn't that be awesome.

I still think that he'll get some playing time and with teammates that will knock down shots when he gets the ball to him...some of those head games will go away.

Brendan Connolly 10 years, 1 month ago

Two of the players he mentions ARE guards in the NBA. Just because we view Henry and Rush as 3's doesn't mean they weren't guards. Heck, our own athletic departments website lists both as guards.....its basic research.

Sam Constance 10 years, 1 month ago

The coaching staff can't possibly do anything to account for the popularity contest that is the NBA Draft. There's a reason that the NBA draft has consistently more big swings and misses and more hidden gems in late rounds than either football or baseball--it's because the nature of the game (only 5 guys compete at any given moment) allows any individual player to make an impact on par with a pitcher or quarterback in their respective sports.

This leads to people trying to draw lines of differentiation between players, sometimes in cases where those lines are nearly nonexistent--basically creating a case for a given player out of thin air. Case in point--yesterday as I was listening to some pre-draft analysis, they started talking about Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's draft potential and everyone was ranting and raving about what a competitor and "winner" he was. One of the things multiple analysts mentioned was how he has won at every level he's played. They went on to note that in spite of his lack of offensive game, and even having sort of a hitchy jump-shot (not good for an NBA player projected to play the 3), his competitive fire makes him a great pickup.

I'm sorry, but couldn't about every single thing they just described about MKG apply to Tyshawn Taylor? I know they play vastly different positions, but I also don't remember anyone raving about Tyshawn's competitive fire and drive, even though we Jayhawk fans here in "flyover country" know that this was Taylor's most defining characteristic. I also should note that it's harder to be an offensively-challenged SF in today's NBA than it is to be an offensively challenged PG. There are too many guys at the wing who can fill it up from all over the floor. PGs, on the other hand, can be STARS with a flawed offensive game (Exhibit A: Rajon Rondo)

(to be continued...)

Sam Constance 10 years, 1 month ago


Kansas products are consistently drafted lower than they deserve--and I suspect it has to do with the fact that we don't have any ties to William Wesley or any other NBA power brokers. Hinrich/Collison getting drafted in the lottery might be the last time we didn't watch our players fall below where their resume suggested they should get drafted. The unfortunate thing about this is the way in which it becomes somewhat of a feedback loop--our players fall in the draft, allowing competitors to talk about how coming to KU won't do you any favors on draft day, which leads to us getting fewer of the "cream of the crop" (top 10) HS prospects, which leads to more of an uphill battle for establishing early draft position, and so on...

Just look at the list of guys for whom a case can be made that they were drafted lower than deserved:

Mario Chalmers

Josh Selby (I know he's polarizing for KU fans, but he had at least as good a season as some of the guys we've seen get drafted into the lottery after not even starting for their college team. Just look at some of the names that came before him: Travis Leslie, Andrew Goudelock, Charles Jenkins, Cory Joseph, Reggie Jackson)

Thomas Robinson (could have made a case for #1, as long as you haven't already decided that AD is a "sure thing", like the collective NBA has decided, but was absolutely the most-deserving #2)

Darrell Arthur (some strange health report made him slip almost a dozen spots lower than he was projected to go)

Tyshawn Taylor

Hell, even Brandon Rush can probably make a good case--given that he went behind guys like Jerryd Bayless, Joe Alexander, and DJ Augustin.

Okay, I guess my rant is done now. I think what I'm getting at is that Kansas doesn't get as much "rep" benefit as some of the other "bluebloods", like Kentucky or UNC, to name two. I also think Kansas fans should keep in mind when talking about Self's shortcomings that he has kept/made us one of the winningest program in the country, while consistently placing less NBA talent than the other schools in our wheelhouse. This accomplishment should not be taken lightly. He's showing us a way to be successful in college without needing an NBA power broker sitting behind the bench for his "connections". It's really quite amazing.

yovoy 10 years, 1 month ago

The only problem I have with Mr. Keegan's editorial is that defense is "nice" in the NBA, but if you aren't perceived as a scorer, you're going to have a much harder time playing. M. Redd, couldn't defend, but he could score the ball, so he got a pass. Granted, he'd take 25-35 shots a game to get his numbers, and he doesn't understand "d", but the point is that this guy has been allowed to have a successful-ish career, while playing very little defense. Of course there are a bunch of other players like Redd, but he's the one that came to mind; feel free to make your own list of player that get the benefit of the doubt due to their "offensive" prowess. Players that can fill it up AND play defense are rare. I hope TT just sets people up and shoots the ball about every third time he touches it.

I'm not even sure that TT is going to get to play. After watching parts of the draft last night, I'm seriously considering subscribing to or downloading some Euroleague games next year. I don't watch the NBA much (even during the playoffs), but I think I'd like to watch another "pro" league a little bit.

The draft is handled like any other commodity. It's athletic speculation, not that different from any other sort of commodity. The draft is held to ostensibly help improve your team. The fact is, is that if you have a rookie superstar that turns out to be the next Rondo/LeBron/Kobe/etc, they help your team, of course, but they help you sell merchandise. The "stars" are a cash cow for the clothing companies and the companies that make other goods that these players endorse. You might draft a dog, but then again you might draft someone that helps you make more money.

Sam Constance 10 years, 1 month ago

There are just as many offensively-challenged players who make their living on defense as there are "matadors" who make their living solely on being a scorer in the NBA.

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