D-League Q&A: NBA Draft Candidate Mike Taylor

Mike Taylor averaged 14.5 points in the D-League last season.
Otto Kitsinger/NBAE/Getty Images
East Rutherford, N.J., June 20, 2008 -- Mike Taylor, who is coming off a D-League Championship in his first pro season with the D-League's Idaho Stampede, has been racking up the frequent flyer miles over the past month. Since Taylor did not declare as an underclassmen before joining the Stampede, he is eligible for the 2008 NBA Draft and has been making visits to NBA teams for workouts as well as a trip to the NBA's Pre-Draft Camp in Orlando, where he placed his name on team's radars by leading his team in scoring in two games.

D-League.com's Matthew Brennan caught up with his Taylor at his latest stop, a workout with the New Jersey Nets at the team's practice facility in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The 6-2 guard worked out with fellow draft candidates Roy Hibbert and Joe Alexander in front of front office staff and coaches including the Nets' Rod Thorn, Kiki Vandeweghe, and Lawrence Frank, and the Knicks' Mike D'Antoni and Brendan Suhr. Taylor will look to make history next Thursday as he has the chance to become the first D-League player to become an NBA draft pick.

Mike, how would you describe your experiences over the past month as a candidate for the NBA Draft?

Mike Taylor: "With the Pre-Draft Camp and everything, it's been going very good. I think I accomplished everything that I set out to do. With the individual workouts with the teams, all of them have kind of run together. Today with the Nets I felt that the workout went pretty well. Everything is coming together now because we are less than a week away from the draft, so my body is getting a little tired, so by this point it's more mental over matter."

Which NBA teams have you worked out for so far?

Taylor: "I worked out for Miami, Chicago, Sacramento, the Clippers, San Antonio, New Orleans, Charlotte, and now the Nets."

Are the workouts unique to each team, or are most of them the same?

Taylor: "This is one of the more back-to-back workouts with the drills. With some of the teams you get a few minutes in between things, but with the Nets there was a lot of full court and one-on-one drills, so it gets you a little more winded than some of the other workouts."

You had some big games at the NBA Pre-Draft Camp in Orlando. Were you happy with your performance there?

Taylor: "I was happy with my performance in Orlando. It was just a great experience for me to play against players that were close to my age. In the D-League I was playing against guys who were eight, ten years older than me so it's finally good to play against my class."

Was playing the D-League an advantage to you heading into the draft process, as you already have year's worth of professional basketball experience under your belt?

Taylor: "I think it was an advantage to me in learning the whole professional game. I'm a couple steps ahead of the college players by adjusting to the three-point shot, knowing the three-second rule, learning where to be on the floor with or without the ball, defending and playing the pick-and-roll, so I definitely think that playing in the D-League was a benefit to improving my game."

Now that the camps and workouts are about over, are you confident that you will hear your name called in the NBA Draft next Thursday?

Taylor: "I mean, I'm confident in the way that I have played leading up to the draft. You never know what teams are particularly looking for, so I'm just going to pray about it and hope that everything works out."

Where are you planning on watching the draft?

Taylor: "I think I am going to watch the event back at home in Milwaukee."

You had a great performance in the D-League Dunk Contest back in February. Any plans on making an appearance in the NBA Contest if you get a chance?

Taylor "Haha, if I can that would be something I would look forward to. I think that the shorter guys have the upper hand in the Dunk Contest, so I'd love to if the chance presents itself."