Rick Bonnell from the Charlotte Observer wrote an article on Jeff Taylor's offseason progress, both from injury, and the improvement of his on-court skills. There's a few things to take away from these updates, so let's get to them.
- He really feels 100 percent: Jeff Taylor has been cleared for all basketball activity for over four months now, and he's had no injury issues since. As the headline reads, Taylor doesn't even see it as an injury anymore, due to how long it's been since he was, well, actually injured. That's a good sign; as he enters his vital third season, he's going to need to be healthy at the start of the year to show the improvement necessary to keep him a part of this rotation.
- His body is a bit different now: With no ability to work on his legs during his Achilles injury, Taylor focused on his upper body instead. According to him, he dropped about fifteen pounds to drop to 215, correctly identifying that it's never good to have excess weight on your body when you've recently had a leg injury. He did get some time at power forward his rookie season, though, and his weight loss will probably eliminate his ability to play at the four. That might make it a bit tougher for him to find a role with the Hornets this year, but we'll have to see how his 3-point stroke looks this fall.
- There might not be a consistent role for Taylor: This isn't quite an update as it is an extrapolation of what's happened both to him and his team. Taylor has a reputation as a 3-and-D player, but he hasn't looked particularly impressive in either capacity since he started playing professionally. With a bit of a crowded backcourt — Kemba Walker and Brian Roberts probably forcing Gary Neal to have to see minutes at the two, behind Lance Stephenson, leaving either Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Gerald Henderson to start at small forward, and the other certainly seeing considerable minutes — it's hard to see exactly where Taylor fits in with this team at the moment, especially given that he doesn't have the reputation or experience that most of his teammates do. Injuries happen, and there's certainly a spot for him if he can hit his outside shots, but with him behind those six on the depth chart and a four-man frontcourt (which will be upgraded to a five-man frontcourt once Noah Vonleh returns from injury), it's likely that Taylor is the twelfth man heading into the season. Hopefully, he will have improved and recovered enough in order to show Steve Clifford that he's capable of being more than just that, but don't be shocked if Taylor struggles to see the court early on this season.