What does Toronto Raptors newest signing, Isaiah Taylor, bring to the table?

Isaiah Taylor (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
Isaiah Taylor (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors have reportedly signed point guard Isaiah Taylor to a partially guaranteed contract. Does he have a chance to make the roster?

The Toronto Raptors training camp roster is officially full. 20 players. 12 with guaranteed contracts, five with partially guaranteed deals, and three guys who won’t count against the cap if cut before the season. Point guard Isaiah Taylor is the latest addition.

The terms or amounts of the contract have not been released or even reported at this time. All we know, according to Adrian Wojnarowski, is that Taylor has been provided at least some type of guaranteed compensation. Looking at the other partially guaranteed contracts on the roster, it’s reasonable to project anywhere from $100-150 thousand guaranteed, of course, on a minimum deal. Compared to their $131 million payroll, it’s essentially nothing.

Who is Isaiah Taylor?

Isaiah Taylor is a 25-year-old point guard out of the University of Texas. He was originally signed with the Houston Rockets as an undrafted free agent during the summer of 2016 and has bounced around the NBA and G-League since that time.

During his time in the NBA, Taylor has played for the Rockets, the Atlanta Hawks, and most recently (although he never played an official game) the Cleveland Cavaliers. After being cut by the Cavaliers during last season’s training camp, Taylor missed the entire 2018-2019 season.

What he offers as a player

A 6-foot-3 combo guard, Isaiah Taylor will almost certainly be battling for the Raptors third point guard spot. Taylor has a slender frame, is lightning fast, and shows solid bounce off of both one or two feet.

Due to his size, he’ll need to defend point guards if he’s to be even moderately effective on the defensive end. Offensively, he can survive as either a point or a slashing off-guard. To make the back-end of the Raptors roster, it will likely need to be as a true point.

Taylor only has one season of real NBA experience. In 2016-2017, Taylor appeared in 67 games for an Atlanta Hawks team which was “Honey, don’t let the children watch” types of horrible. During that time he showed abilities attacking the rim, creating for others, and getting to the free-throw line.

However, as indicated by his inability to make the Cleveland Cavaliers last season, Taylor also showed a few deficiencies. He was inefficient as a scorer, turned the ball over at a reasonably high rate, and rebounded the ball as if he was allergic to it.

The swing skill, in what seems to be the theme for the Toronto Raptors this offseason, will be his ability to shoot from distance. So far in his NBA career, Taylor has gone just 20-82 for what would be a league-worst 24.4-percent (among qualifying shooters). However, over the course of his G-League career, Taylor has gone 47-103, for what would be near a league-best 45.6-percent.

Moving forward, Taylor will almost certainly be between these two extremes as a shooter. Where he lies on that spectrum will decide if he can make an NBA roster.

Taylor will be competing with Cameron Payne for the Raptors third point guard spot on the depth chart and the likely roster spot which comes with it. There’s also a chance he could fill one of the team’s two-way spots, although Exhibit-10 contracts Sagaba Konate and Oshae Brissett are the two clear front-runners at this time.

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Right now, Taylor’s chances of making the team aren’t great. He’ll need to perform well in training camp and during the preseason if he wants to make the cut to 15. To see if he’s able to do that, we’ll just have to wait.