While the Texas Longhorns struggled to find a competent point guard throughout the 2016-17 campaign, Isaiah Taylor spent the season developing into and NBA-caliber one.
The former All-Big 12 performer spent his first season as a professional among the G League ranks with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, where Taylor thrived en route to 21 points, six assists and three rebounds per game throughout the regular season.
In short, Taylor impressed; so much so that after seeing just 52 minutes of action in four games with the Houston Rockets last season, Houston general manager Daryl Morey envisions Taylor becoming a key piece on next season’s rotation, per a recent interview with The Dream Shake.
“He was one of the best point guards in the D-League last year and really knows how to run all of coach’s stuff, and we think he’s got a real good chance to be the guy behind James and Chris handling the ball.”
In a sense, the arrival of one of the best point guards in NBA history to be paired with James Harden opened the door for Taylor’s NBA aspirations. As part of the trade that brought Paul to Houston, the Rockets sent a package including Patrick Beverley to the Los Angeles Clippers, leaving Houston without a backup floor general.
Fortunately for Taylor, the Rockets’ G League affiliate happened to house a prospect that now seems much more capable of shouldering a rotational role in the NBA, especially after addressing some concerns, such as converting 45.7 percent of his three-point attempts last season.
There’s certainly still plenty of room for improvement going forward and Taylor’s jump shot is far from a perfect product, but when his improvement in that area is paired with his noticeable speed and aggressive style offensively and willingness to defend at a high level, you have a quality NBA reserve.
It appears that’s the role Taylor is headed for in 2017-18 after a season on the G League circuit.