Jeff Taylor just wants to get back on the court, provide a little wing depth for the Hornets.
Getting on the court is not going to be that easy because the Hornets are loaded at the three — Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is back as the starter at the three, Lance Stephenson is at the two (but can play some three) and Gerald Henderson can back up both positions and Gary Neal is in the mix — but he was getting more than 24 minutes a game at the start of last season.
The other key is Taylor being healthy after rupturing his Achilles last season, He told Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer he is good to go and has showed it working out with teammates at the Hornets’ facilities before camp it opens.
“It’s been a long road,” Taylor said. “With an Achilles injury, you have to be really patient — slowly getting back all your strength, back to what you were….”
“It’s not an injury anymore. It’s healed,” he said. “It’s not weighing on my mind.”
If Taylor is going to get the run he wants two things have to happen. First is he has to find his stroke from three again — he shot 34.4 percent as a rookie but that fell off to 26.9 percent last season. Taylor has a sweet release.
He’s also going to have to continue to show defensive improvement. Coach Steve Clifford guided the Hornets (then Bobcats) to the playoffs last season on the strength of a sixth ranked defense (and enough points from Al Jefferson to stay ahead). Taylor struggled defensively as a rookie but was improved last season before the injury. Now he needs to take another step forward on that end because, as mentioned above, Clifford has other good options. Bottom line, you can’t be a “3 and D” player in the league without the D.
At least Taylor is back, healthy and ready to prove he belongs on the court.