Derrel Johnson, SNYNets.com
In the Brooklyn Nets final two games before the All-Star break, Tyshawn Taylor was needed and he came through.
With Deron Williams battling synovitis in both ankles and C.J. Watson struggling—he went 0-of-7 against the Indiana Pacers last week—the Nets desperately needed Taylor to give them good minutes.
The rookie did, as he had his best game as a professional against the Pacers in a hostile road environment. Taylor’s stat line of 12 points, on 5-of-9 shooting in 34 minutes was impressive, but he showed an ability to break down the Pacers league-best defense and gave the Nets something they haven’t gotten a lot of this season: effective penetration from the point guard position.
In the following game against the Denver Nuggets, Taylor was efficient again, scoring six points, while dishing out four assists and grabbing three rebounds in 16 minutes. Meanwhile, in the same two games, MarShon Brooks has scored just nine points and went scoreless, in 15 and six minutes, respectively.
Taylor opened eyes in those two games, and the question now is whether he deserves to be put ahead of MarShon Brooks in the rotation. Now, we have to wonder whether P.J. Carlesimo will play Taylor with either Williams, Watson or Joe Johnson in the backcourt, or if Brooks keep his place in the rotation or if Taylor will simply go back to not playing at all.
Brooks has received inconsistent playing time this season. He scored a season-high of 17 points against the Phoenix Suns on Jan. 11, but has also had seven games in which he has gone scoreless. His best asset on the court is his scoring ability, and if he is not helping the team by scoring the ball, he is more than likely hurting it.
Carlesimo would be wise to give Taylor some of Brooks’ minutes over the next couple of games. The Nets may be well served by having Taylor man the point guard position, in spurts, with either Wiliams or Watson as his shooting guard.
Taylor has earned the opportunity to show whether or not he can be a consistent contributor. He may also be able to provide an additional spark off the bench, and only his insertion into the rotation can validate his good play.