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Atlanta Hawks 2017-2018 player review: Isaiah Taylor

A breakout campaign for the young guard.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks signed second-year point guard Isaiah Taylor out of the University of Texas to a two-year deal just days prior to the 2017-18 season. Taylor’s signing shortly followed the release of recent Golden State breakout Quinn Cook, with Taylor slotted to be the Hawks third point guard.

Taylor spent most of 2016-17 with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the G League affiliate of his hometown Houston Rockets. He appeared in four regular season games and three postseason games for Houston last season.

Profiled as a speedy guard who hustles from end to end, Taylor’s 2018 season showcased his ability to compete on the defensive end and his speed pushed the pace when it was his turn to run Atlanta’s offense.

Here’s Taylor’s speed on display as he explodes for the jam:

The second-year guard finally found his role with the team grow in the second half of the season, getting significant minutes off the bench and even starting nine games late in the season following injuries to Hawks’ mainstays Malcolm Delaney and Dennis Schröder.

Taylor’s best game of the season was back in Houston, when he dropped 26 points on the Rockets on March 25. The game was a runaway 118-99 win for Houston, but Taylor had everything working as he was 3-for-6 from behind the three-point arc while also getting to the rim at will.

His open court explosiveness proved to be his biggest strength this season, while also displaying the ability to get to the rim within the half court offense as well:

He posted a true shooting percentage of 69.3 in the contest.

Taylor also showed the ability to navigate the pick and roll with success late in the season:

Taylor averaged 13.7 points and 6.4 assists per 36 minutes this season while shooting 41.3 percent from the floor, which is on par with the numbers he put up in a starting role at the University of Texas.

While he showed some promise from the three-point line last year in the G League, Taylor struggled to the tune of a 25 percent clip this season (20-for-80) from behind the arc.

When asked about what he hopes to improve this summer, Taylor told reporters, “Just getting that consistent jump shot. I think if I’m hitting a consistent jump shot, I’ll be tough to guard.”

Taylor will look to improve his jump shot over the off-season as he only posted a true shooting percentage of 49.2 this season.

However, he posted an assist percentage of 27 for Atlanta this season, displaying adequate play-making ability:

When asked about whether he would participate in Summer League or not: “I’m not sure about summer league...(not sure) what we’re gonna do in the summer.”

The Hawks Summer League roster is still up in the air and won’t be ironed out until after the NBA Draft in June, but it’s certainly possible that Taylor will be in Utah and Las Vegas with the club.

Taylor also has a decent chance to be back in Atlanta as one of the guards off the bench again in 2018-2019 as he is under contract for next season, although it is not a guaranteed contract. Depending on what happens with Delaney’s free agency, Taylor may start the year as the backup to Schröder.