After being inconspicuous during his first two Pac-10 Tournament games, Bryce Taylor
was perfect in the title game. The sharp shooting junior didnt miss a single shot from either the field or the line for the entirety of Oregons blowout win over USC. Taylors entire offensive repertoire was on full display for a national audience to witness as the Ducks cruised to victory.
Whether its knocking down deep threes with a hand in his face, blowing by a defender to the basket, or exploding for a dunk in the lane, Taylor is always a threat to score. The fact that he averages only 14.8 points per game is a testament to the tremendous offensive fire power that Oregon possesses. On most other teams in the country he would be a threat to score close to 20 a night.
For Taylor, his game begins on the outside and moves in. He is a deadly three point shooter, and as he showed on Saturday a couple of times, is at his scariest coming off of screens because of his fluid release. He has no qualms about launching from beyond NBA range or with a defender in his face. When he does decide to pass on shots from the outside, he usually can beat his man to the basket thanks to his opportunistic style of play. He lacks much of a pull up jumper, and still has plenty of work to do on his ball-handling skills, but still excels because of his ability to finish in the lane. At 200 pounds, Taylor has a solid build for a guard and can still get off good shots when he is bumped by bigger players. His most dangerous attribute going to the rim though is his finishing ability. Despite being 6-5, Taylor is capable of elevating over many taller players and finishing a play with a strong dunk thanks to his quick leaping ability.
Toughness is a major part of Taylors appeal as a player. Hes a good rebounder for a player his size, and consistently picks up garbage points by following his own shot. This toughness translates well for him at the next level where he will be a little undersized as a shooting guard. Defensively, Taylor isnt going to wow anyone, but he does play good hard defense. He has average lateral quickness, but sticks to his man tightly, forcing a lot of tough and contested shots. Against USC, neither Nick Young
nor Gabe Pruitt
were able to do much when Taylor was covering them.
The biggest strike against Taylor in an otherwise very good season has been his consistency. After putting up double digit scoring performances in 19 of his first 20 games this year, he went cold for a stretch of several games. This cold spell interestingly enough coincided with a two week slump for Oregon in which they dropped 5 out of 7 games. In the last month of the season Taylor only has two other solid performances before exploding against USC.
With Aaron Brooks
set to graduate after this season, expect an increase in Taylors numbers, especially in the number of shots he sees and his scoring. With his shooting, basketball IQ, and toughness, expect to see Taylors name firmly in the mix for draft projections.