Second-year player Tyshawn Taylor and veteran Shaun Livingston will duke it out during training camp and the preseason, with the winner getting the immediate nod at backup point guard for the Brooklyn Nets.
Livingston was signed for two reasons this summer: to push Taylor so that Nets’ brass can determine whether the 23-year-old is primed for a permanent role in the rotation, and as an insurance policy if it turns out Taylor isn’t, in fact, prepared to seize those full-time reins.
Competition exists to bring out the best in people, but in a scenario where Taylor’s best isn’t the rock-solid evidence that new coach Jason Kidd needs to give him the job, Kidd should not shy away from Taylor early on in the season.
Experience and size make Livingston the safer bet on paper, but Taylor’s quickness and ability to penetrate into the paint make him much more explosive and dynamic. He proved that last season when he was forced to go from single-digit minutes to significant playing time after starter Deron Williams sat out a few games with ankle injuries.
The potential is certainly there for Taylor. All he needs is an opportunity. Livingston presents a viable short-term option, but Taylor has the talent to be the long-term solution as Brooklyn’s No. 2 guy.
He’ll be prone to mistakes from the outset, but the reassuring factor in all of this is that Taylor has an entire crew of veteran leadership surrounding and aiding him. And that’s not only limited to the starters that he isn’t likely to be playing alongside that often. Battle-tested reserves like Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko will be more than enough support for Taylor on the floor, as well.
There’s no need to wait any longer with Taylor. He looks the part, and at some point this season, Kidd has to allow him play it for good.