2014-15 Season in Review | Jeffery Taylor

by Quinton Wash

By Matt Rochinski, hornets.com

2014-15 Season in Review | Jeffery Taylor

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Tipping Off
Missing an extended period of time is never easy for an NBA player. From the time Jeffery Taylor tore his right Achilles tendon on Dec. 20, 2013 until he finished serving a 24-game NBA suspension to start the 2014-15 season, he had missed a full calendar year of action. He laced up his shoes again for Charlotte on Dec. 20, 2014 against Utah and didn't score in three minutes of play but was back on an NBA court.
"It was a tough year," acknowledged Taylor. "It was challenging in a lot of ways, but things like that - those challenges - only make your stronger. I think I did alright."

D-League Assignment
It took some time for Taylor to get back in the NBA groove upon his return. In his first three games back, he averaged 1.0 point in 6.0 minutes through three games before General Manager Rich Cho announced on Dec. 28 that the team assigned Taylor to the Austin Spurs of the NBA D-League, pursuant to the flexible assignment rule.  The flexible assignment rule was used because the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the Hornets’ D-League affiliate, had two NBA “wing” players on assignment at the time the Hornets initiated Taylor’s assignment to the D-League. Taylor played in four games with the Spurs, averaging 11.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 26.2 minutes per game. He shot .333 from the field (15-45) and .750 from the free-throw line (12-16) before being recalled on Jan. 9. In the first five games he saw action is since returning to Charlotte, Taylor put up 5.4 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 8.4 minutes as a reserve.

February Chance
Taylor's first opportunity to make a significant impact came when forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist went down with a right hamstring strain in the second half of a Feb. 7 contest in Philadelphia. Taylor would step into MKG's starting spot the next night (Feb. 8) against Indiana and score six points on 2-of-4 shooting while adding two rebounds, one assist and one steal in 22 minutes. Taylor got even stronger in his second-consecutive start on Feb. 10, scoring 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including 2-of-4 from long range, to go with three rebounds, one assist and one block in 31 minutes.
"He had a lot of obstacles, but he's done a very good job of getting his work in every day and really concentrating on getting better," said assistant coach Stephen Silas. "I think he's an elite one-on-one defender who can guard anybody… offensively, he's very athletic and can make the corner three."
The extended playing time would be short-lived however, as Kidd-Gilchrist returned to action on Feb. 21 after 10 days without any basketball over the All-Star break.  Taylor saw action in just eight of the Hornets next 19 games, only once playing any longer than six minutes off the bench.

April Opportunity
Taylor got a second chance to be inserted into Charlotte's starting lineup on March 28 against Atlanta when the Hornets opted to shut MKG down for the final 11 games of the season with a left ankle sprain. Taylor put up nine points, two rebounds and two assists in the Hornets 115-100 victory, started Charlotte's last 11 games and averaged 6.5 points on 41.9 percent shooting (26-of-62) to go with 2.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 0.55 steals in 25.1 minutes.
"I worked really hard and worked my way back into consideration for playing time," Taylor said after averaging 4.4 points, 1.8 rebounds and 0.8 assist. "I think I had stretches where I played really well. Where I got in rhythm and felt pretty good. I'm going to keep working on my jump shot and being more consistent. Maybe getting the ball off quicker, in terms of my release. Just the small things like that."


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