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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Vanderbilt SF Jeffery Taylor 06.19.12 at 7:44 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2012 NBA draft, we are profiling all players considered likely candidates to be drafted June 28. The Celtics own three picks: 21, 22 (from the Thunder in the Kendrick Perkins trade) and 51.

Jeffery Taylor, the son of a former NBA player, projects to be an elite defender in the pros. (AP)

JEFFERY TAYLOR

Position: Small forward

School: Vanderbilt

Age: 23

Height: 6-foot-7

Weight: 213 pounds

Achievements: 2011 All-SEC second team, 2010 All-SEC second team, 2009 SEC All-Freshman team

Key 2011-12 stats: 16.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5 assists, 49.3 FG%, 42.3 3P%, 60.5 FT%

What he brings: Taylor is one of the best athletes in the draft. He excels at getting to the rim with a quick first step and in four years at Vanderbilt, the 23-year-old also developed into an excellent jump shooter. Taylor also showcased an ability to defend four positions on the floor and projects to be an elite defender at the next level.

The knocks on Taylor are that his poor ball-handling skills limit his ability to create off the dribble. He also measured a negative 6-feet-6 wingspan, though his lateral quickness and excellent fundamentals should still allow him to stay in front of all but the quickest guards.

Taylor’s game is best suited to be paired with a pass-first point guard like Rajon Rondo, where his role could consist of spreading the floor and knocking down perimeter jumpers and making plays at the rim off of cuts to the basket and in transition.

Where the Celtics could get him: Taylor is projected to be drafted in the late first round so the Celtics would likely have a shot at taking him. Given Boston’s focus on defense and how well Taylor’s offensive game might fit with a guard like Rondo, he is certainly an option.

Notes: Taylor’s father, Jeff Taylor, played briefly in the NBA for the Rockets and Pistons before playing professionally in Sweden, where he lives today and where Jeffery spent the first seven years of his life. Jeffery moved to New Mexico in 2006 to live with his grandmother and play high school basketball at his father’s alma mater in Hobbs.

Recent articles:

NBA.com: Vanderbilt’s Taylor fills out game, climbs up draft charts

Huffington Post: Vanderbilt junior’s amazing dunk against Georgia

Video: Here’s a mix of Taylor highlights.

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