Josh Newman, Field ReporterEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Throughout highly-productive careers at St. Anthony High School of Jersey City and Kansas University, Tyshawn Taylor has never been one to back down from competition. That positive aspect of the 6-foot-3 point guard’s game is about to be needed more than ever.
As the Nets opened practice in anticipation of the Orlando Summer League on Wednesday morning, Taylor knows he needs to leave a lasting impression on this new Jason Kidd-led coaching staff over the next two weeks. That notion stems from General Manager Billy King making it known that he plans to bring in a third point guard to challenge Taylor for the backup role behind Deron Williams.
As free agency opened on Monday morning, the Nets were left with just Williams and Taylor on the roster after last season’s backup point guard, C.J. Watson, declined his $1.1 million option for next season. Watson has since reportedly agreed to a two-year deal with the Indiana Pacers.
“I love the competition,” Taylor said following the first of five summer league practices before the Orlando Summer League opens on Sunday. “The summer league is huge for me and just proving myself and leaving a good impression. This is part of the business, you’ve gotta compete, so I’m ready for that.”
The backup point guard position has not emerged as the top priority just yet for King, not with the need for bench scoring and the mini mid-level exception still available, but it’s going to happen. King said last week in the days leading up to the NBA Draft he planned to bring in a veteran guard to push Taylor for that backup spot.
There has been and will continue to be no shortage of names linked to that third point guard spot as free agency slogs on, partially due to the fact that whoever gets the spot will likely have to settle for a veteran’s minimum contract.
For now, Taylor’s focus will be on showing Kidd, a fellow-point guard, that he can run an offense. After starring and being the focal point at St. Anthony and Kansas, Taylor played in just 38 games last season as a rookie and was sent down to the Springfield Armor of the D-League three different times, playing in a total of eight games. In those eight games, Taylor flourished, averaging 24.6 points, 7.5 assists and 4.1 rebounds.
“I think summer league is huge for me,” Taylor said. “Personally, I think him (Kidd) leading me and coaching me is gonna help me out a lot for sure. I think I’m gonna come out here and leave my imprint on the game, leave my imprint on the summer league, leave a good impression on my coaches’ minds and also my teammates.”
Taylor is one of the more decorated Jayhawks in recent memory, scoring 1,580 points while starting all four years at the point, where he spearheaded their run to the national championship game as a senior in 2012. As a Friar, Taylor was a key piece of Hall of Fame head coach Bob Hurley‘s vaunted 2007-08 squad, which went 32-0, captured every mythical national championship available and sent six seniors to Division I schools.
Josh Newman is SNYNets.com’s Field Reporter. Follow him on Twitter for up to the minute news and banter on all things related to the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA