With roughly two weeks left before the 2009 NBA Draft, Ed Stefanski and the rest of the 76ers Player Personnel Department still have a few Draft prospect workouts left to conduct. As it stands right now, the Sixers are scheduled to put shooting guard Marcus Thornton through the paces on June 11th and another shooting guard Jermaine Taylor will audition on June 14th. Obviously everyone in the world knows the Sixers are in desperate need of a legit shooting guard, so it’s a good sign that they seem to be ready to address the problem.
Thornton a shooting guard who stands 6-3 and weighs 195 pounds, averaged 21 points, 5.5 reboundsand 2 dimes a game last year for the LSU Tigers. Thornton hit at a 47.2% clip from the field and at a 38.8% from the 3-ball territory. He did not participate in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, however he did work out at the 2009 NBA Combine in Chicago.
Draftexpress.com one of the most respected NBA Draft analytical websites had the following to say about Thornton:
“…is a capable scorer who should benefit from playing a smaller role at the next level…Only a decent scorer on isolations, off of pull ups, and on the pick and roll, Thornton got more shots off of cuts than any other shooting guard and took the second most shots off of screens. His coach obviously loved running plays for him in the half-court, and his ability to play without the ball should make him a big asset from day one in the NBA. Something of a jack of all trades, Thornton even got a whole possession per game in the post, and is the type of player that can contribute for almost any type of team. He can do so many different things that he’s a good fit in most systems, so long as he doesn’t have to put the ball on the floor a great deal in half court settings to create offense.”
The 6-3 and a half, 210 pound Taylor averaged 26.2 pppg, 5.5 apg. and 5 rpg. as a senior shooting guard for Central Florida this past season. He shot 48 % from the field and 37.6 % from behind the arc last year. If you think back to May, you’ll remember that Taylor absolutely killed it and the Portsmouthth Invitational Tournament in front of all the NBA scouts. He led the Tournament in scoring at 21.3 ppg., grabbed 3.7 boards per contest and shot 46% from the field during the event. As a result Taylor was selected to the First Team PIT All-Tournament Team and earned an invite to Chicago.
Draftexpress.com had the following to say about Taylor:
“Taylor doesn’t have the greatest command of advanced ball-handling moves just yet, and his left hand is noticeably underdeveloped, but his slashing game is quite effective for other reasons, namely his strong first step in combination with his excellent body control and shiftiness with the ball in the lane. He’s terrific at making strong, aggressive moves coming off a screen or in other quick actions, showing great footwork and excellent body control. Also, while he isn’t the most versatile ball-handler, he’s effective enough with the ball in space and he shows a good understanding of his limitations, as evidenced by his outstanding 0.13 turnovers per possession this season, which is even more impressive given that Taylor has the third highest usage rate in our database.
Taylor’s well-developed frame allows him to finish through contact at the rim, while he also has a solid floater in his repertoire that he can utilize when necessary. His mid-range game is an effective weapon as well, being able to pull up in the 5-15 feet range going in either direction. Taylor’s body control on pull-up jumpers is exceptional, always staying upright with shoulders squared to the rim, however his release is prone to sloppiness when he has a hand in his face, leading to some errant misses.
Taylor’s jump shot in general is also impressive, as he shows range to the college three-point line with very strong form, being capable of scoring coming off screens, spotting up, or pulling up. As with his mid-range game, his release can get sloppy when a defender closes out hard, but otherwise his form is excellent.
As for the other aspects of his offensive game, Taylor shows solid court vision even though he didn’t dish out many assists at UCF. His passing game is clearly a work in progress, as he definitely has a scorer’s mentality, and it showed when he tried to adjust his game at Portsmouth, leading to some ill-advised turnovers. Taylor is also aggressive on the offensive glass, using his combination of strength and athleticism to get his hands on balls over players much bigger than himself.
On the defensive end, Taylor is fairly unimpressive, not making use of his excellent physical tools consistently, showing an inconsistent stance with perimeter defense, not putting in consistent effort to move laterally, constantly lagging through screens off the ball, and showing a general lack of focus oftentimes. Still, it’s clear that he has considerable potential on this end of the floor with his wingspan and athleticism, and it does manifest from time to time, though he has a long way to go to even be an average defender by NBA standards.”