Traveling the world, touring foreign countries and experiencing different cultures has always been a top my bucket list.
Mama always said not to live life in envy of others, but today, it’s hard not to be jealous of Texas’ junior point guard Isaiah Taylor.
That kid is about to see all of Europe, and then some, when he is playing overseas next season. Because he definitely isn’t going to be playing in the NBA.
On Thursday, Taylor announced he hired an agent, thus revoking his amateur status and making a "test-the-waters" NBA draft declaration an official decision.
The junior averaged 13.6 points per game and 4.5 assists during his playing days at Texas, and at times, made impressive shots and athletic plays that wowed the crowd.
But don’t expect it out of Taylor at the next level. And, boy, do I hope I’m wrong. But here is the basic, almost non-debatable truth about the point guard who had so many high expectations for his senior year: he’s not NBA caliber.
Wait, pardon me. In several different facets of his game, Taylor is not NBA ready. There. That’s it. Or, for those of you who prefer a more straight-to-the-point analysis: don’t expect to see Taylor in an NBA uniform next year.
The NBA announced this week it will begin the transition to jerseys with advertising space. Which, for Texas fans who like to buy the jersey of former Longhorns, that’s a bummer. However, if you’re looking at the glass half-full, wouldn’t you rather have a Kevin Durant Thunder or an Avery Bradley Celtics jersey with a small corporate logo on the front of it than the alternative?
Because if you were planning on buying a Taylor jersey after his days on the Forty Acres ended, you’ll be buying an off-brand jersey on eBay with a team name in a completely different language -- that is if they even sell overseas basketball team’s jerseys.
Facepalm. And facepalm one more time for good measure.
If you’re rebutting any argument suggestion Taylor shouldn’t have gone pro, think about what he’s actually doing. Because he isn’t chasing the money. What money? I didn’t think NBA-Developmental League players were paid very much. Sure, he can make money, but that money will be overseas.
I reiterate: Taylor will not be drafted. Not when you consider players like Indiana’s Kevin “yogi” Ferrell are going pro, too. And that isn’t even someone who will be drafted in the first round. But still a better point guard than Taylor.
But, boy, do I hope I’m wrong. Never have I ever wanted a player to come back and make me eat my words the way I hope Taylor does. But I’m probably not wrong. And anyone who watched him should know this, too. He doesn’t have the physical stature. He makes athletic, agile moves to the basket look second nature to him, but for all intents and purposes, Taylor probably didn’t play one NBA-caliber big man this year. In fact, the only time he might have come close was going up against the likes of Joel Embid at Kansas two years ago when he was a freshman. So, that doesn’t count.
Taylor isn’t going to be able to get half as far in the lane as he does now to make those runners and toss up those floaters. Never mind the fact that a big man would body Taylor and reject his shot, but the guards Taylor will go up against are going to be bigger, faster, stronger and more physical. Sorry, those guards are going to be too big, too fast, too strong and too physical.
But, boy, I hope I’m wrong.
And the question then becomes what would one more year at Texas do to change physical stature and height issues?
It’s not about one more year spent trying to gain more weight in muscle, or become a better shooter -- because he needs both of those things to happen, too. Taylor returning was a platform and a golden opportunity wasted.
The junior should have been able to work out for teams, get valuable feedback and translate that to his game next season after removing his name from the draft. Then, in Shaka Smart’s system, the then senior would have been arguably the Big 12 Conference’s best point guard and more than likely in the conversation nationally among the top three or four point guards.
And thus, buzz is created. That’s when stats are bulky, expectations are high and nobody really pays attention to the fact you didn’t face an NBA-caliber big man, Isaiah. Next season was supposed to be your time to get better, actually be a late first- to- mid-second round pick capable of playing in the NBA and then do just that: play in the NBA.
Instead, you’ll sign with a team for the summer league and just before you’re cut from an NBA roster at the end of training camp, a coach will sit you down in his office and talk to you about all the ways you need to improve to be NBA ready and make it onto a team. A conversation Taylor could have had with no consequences this summer, working out for teams with an entire senior season left to take those tips and suggestions and turn them into improvements in time for the 2017 NBA draft.
Instead, Taylor faces the consequences so many before him have endured and suffered. So many that most couldn’t even begin to name all of the college basketball players who looked so good for 40 minutes each night, but never saw a single second of the 48 minutes in an NBA game.
Many will say it’s Taylor’s future and he should chase his dreams. This is Taylor’s future and we don’t know his situation or his family’s situation financially. Fair enough. His life, not mine. Got it.
But if this was about bettering his situation, or chasing his dreams, the whole process seems pretty contradictory to me. Because if his dream was to make the big bucks in the NBA, all Taylor did was further himself from that reality when he signed an agent on Thursday.
Taylor will make his money overseas. I’m sure of that. He’s a damn good basketball player. He just isn’t good enough for the NBA, yet. And unfortunately, nobody made that clear to him in time.
But, boy, do I hope I’m wrong.
- Apr 21 2016 07:07 PM
- by Corey Elliot