Tyshawn Taylor makes most of NBA debut

Though low on depth chart, this could be a big year, says one analyst
11/06/2012 1:59 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Tyshawn Taylor drives past Minnesota's JJ Barea. (AP)
Tyshawn Taylor made his NBA debut for the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night, playing six minutes and scoring two points in the Nets’ 107-96 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves at Barclays Center.

It was the light at the end of a whirlwind eight-day tunnel for Taylor, who spent the early part of last week marooned in his Hoboken, N.J. apartment due to flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy; that storm also forced him to miss multiple practices and see his first scheduled NBA game postponed, and when the Nets finally did open their season on Saturday, he never got to take off his warm-ups.

But on Monday night, the Nets’ virtual third-string point guard finally got some run, and the Kansas product made the most of it; Taylor made his only field goal attempt, added his first career assist, and came off the court with a plus/minus rating of plus-6, meaning Brooklyn outscored Minnesota by a half-dozen in the time Taylor was on the Herringbone court.

Greg Anthony also made his Brooklyn debut on Monday as the newest Nets on YES analyst, and as a former point guard who spent 11 years in the NBA, Anthony knows what it takes for guys like Taylor to break through.

Like Taylor was at Kansas, Anthony was a career starter on a UNLV team that was a perennial National Championship contender. And even though Anthony was a lottery pick, he still spent his rookie season with the Knicks as a backup to one of the league’s premier point guards – in his case, former Nets analyst Mark Jackson – and knows that while opportunities like Monday’s may be all Taylor himself gets this year, just being with the Nets in 2012-13 could be a great asset on his resume in years to come.

“Right now, it’s a numbers situation and an experience situation for Tyshawn, and I think what’s going to be critical for his success is to not look at this as a negative, but as a positive,” Anthony said after the game. “He’s going to have an opportunity to learn from arguably the best point guard in the game (in Deron Williams), and also arguably the best backup point guard as well (in C.J. Watson). Both these guys have a lot of experience in the postseason and know what it takes to be successful at this level.”

As Anthony’s partner Monday night, Ian Eagle, alluded to in an earlier chronicle of rookies to watch, those who usually make the most immediate impact are the ones who come into a situation where they’re needed to excel right away. Anthony, however, cited last year’s breakout star in the Big Apple as proof that all it takes is one opportunity.

“For Taylor, this is about learning what it takes to be an NBA player, and making sure you’re prepared so when those opportunities do present themselves you can take advantage of them – a la Jeremy Lin a season ago with the Knicks,” Anthony said.

And, in perhaps the ultimate endorsement from one point guard to another, Anthony said that he knows Taylor already has the assets to make it – it’s just a matter of time.

“He doesn’t have any fear, and I think that’s so important. He believes in himself and his ability, and he’s proven that he can play the game,” Anthony said, “and his mindset is going to determine where he falls. It has nothing to do with his physical ability; his mental approach to every day is going to determine whether or not he ultimately becomes the player he thinks he can be in this league.”

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