Rookie point guard Tyshawn Taylor has signed with Adidas following the 2012 NBA draft, and while attending an event at the Adidas Village in Portland, Ore., I had a chance to briefly chat with the prospect about his transition to the NBA.
Taylor is a quick, explosive point guard with good size who improved his scoring ability big-time his senior year at Kansas.
The only problem? His decision-making skills still need improvement.
If Taylor can get his turnovers down and prove that his basketball IQ is high, his physical attributes will blend with his skill set and he’ll be the perfect rotation player behind Deron Williams as the Brooklyn Nets continue building toward the future.
Bleacher Report: Your 2012 class is being considered one of the deepest classes to come into the league in a long time. Do you think that gives you guys as a whole any extra motivation or extra pressure heading into your rookie season?
Tyshawn Taylor: I think it may put a little bit of pressure on us as a whole draft class because it was one of those years after a lockout that a lot of people stayed back that could’ve went last year and made this one a lot deeper.
I think all of us guys are coming in with expectations that we want to be great players and we want to have long careers in the NBA. ...we all see the potential and we just have to come in and work. ... I like the guys in my draft class. I’ve been playing against them for a while...I know that I’m excited for a lot of those guys and I hope they come in and work, and I hope we can make this last as long as possible.
What would you say has been the biggest transition up to this point, going from a college basketball player to a professional athlete?
I think just not having things being that structured and planned out for me. I think everything that happens and what I do with my time is basically on me.
After I work out and go to the gym, I’ve just basically got a whole free day. It’s weird, you’re used to going to class, then having tutoring, then having practice and then having a team meal, and it’s just not the same right now.
It’s a lot of free time, so I’ve got to get myself a routine. ... I think once the season starts, it’ll cut back and I’ll have more scheduled plan, but I think so far, that’s been the hardest transition is just trying to get myself on a routine and planning everything.
What do you fill that free time with?
(Laughs) T.V. A lot of movies, just family time. I don’t get a lot of time to spend with my family because I travel so much, so a lot of family time and just catching up on T.V., I guess.
Have you had much time to communicate with your teammates?
Not much. I think we did the summer league, and after the summer league there wasn’t much. We’re gonna meet up in the next couple of days for some pickup and stuff, but not much communication yet with the guys. Looking forward to it, though.
Your team has had a busy summer. A lot of moves, a lot of new contracts; can you picture a big turnaround for the team next year?
For sure. I can see they’re ready, just with the whole organization. The whole new arena thing going on, I think our fanbase has already increased just being in a different area; kind of a better market. I’m from Jersey, so I love the New Jersey Nets, but I love the fact that we’re in a different market now and I think Brooklyn is excited.
I think all of New York is excited, so I think that motivates us to want to definitely do well because we know how New York can be. They can be tough on you, so we’ve just got to come and go to work every day.
Have you met Jay-Z?
Not yet. I’m looking forward to that, too. I don’t know when it’s actually going to happen. I know he’s having a concert pretty soon, but I’m really looking forward to it and I’m excited about it.
You had an opportunity to play for the under-19 USA Team. Can you describe that experience a little bit?
It was great. Traveling overseas was something that it was my first time doing and I was around a great bunch of guys; a bunch of guys who have been in the league for the last couple years. We had a good time out there. We bonded, we won games and we got the gold medal. … and it was good we had a great coaching staff. We just had a lot of fun.
What’s going to stick with you longer, winning a world championship or losing in the NCAA championship?
Losing in the NCAA championship, for sure. To make it that far is something that you just work so hard every day for, and to fall short is definitely tough. But to make it that far when a lot of people didn’t expect us to was even a better feeling.
I’m happy where we’re at, but I’m competitive, so you always want to win. But I think we had a really good year, and I was happy with it.
Do you have any current favorite NBA players who you love to watch, or who you resemble your game after?
I’m a huge (Rajon) Rondo fan. I love his game, I think he’s one of the best at his position, if not the best. I think it’s arguable for sure, but I think he’s in the argument. And I’m just a huge Kobe (Bryant) fan. Huge, huge Kobe fan.
You’ve been around this 2012 rookie class for a long time now. Who do you think will take home the Rookie of the Year award?
Thomas Robinson. I may be a little biased, but I’m going T-Rob. He’s a beast, man. I think he’s gonna be in a position where he gets a lot of minutes and he can be effective, so I’m looking forward to seeing him play this year.
Generally, what do you expect to get out of your rookie season both on and off the court?
I think off the court, I’m just gonna have to grow up a little bit; come off more professional, just be more of a business man; how to handle my business a little better. I think on the court, I’m just expected to go in there as a rookie and just learn as much as possible.
I’m gonna be on a team with a lot of great veterans, a great coach and so I’m just looking to be a sponge, basically, and just kind of soak up as much information as possible ... I think those guys already in the league understand the lifestyle that I’m gonna walk into ... so they’re gonna be able to help me both on and off the court, so I’m really looking forward to that.