Meet the new Sacramento King: Jermaine Taylor.

Last week the Sacramento Kings made a quiet move that helped the Houston Rockets clear a roster space before they made a larger three team deal that yielded swingman Terrence Williams.  By giving up a future (highly protected) 2nd round pick, the Kings received second year shooting guard Jermaine Taylor out of Central Florida as well as cash considerations.  The 24-year-old Taylor is what can be described as a high flier with tremendous upside-  upside Rocket’s coach Rick Adelman did not have the time to mold.

On Monday, I had a chance to sit down with the confident and athletic Jermaine Taylor.  Here is that interview in its entirety.

TPP: What was your experience like in Houston?

Taylor: I had a real good experience.  I had fun.  There are a lot of good people out there- coaches, teammates, everybody.  I don’t think I was given a fair opportunity, but other than that, I loved it.

TPP: Coach Adelman has long been known as a coach who likes to let young players learn from the bench.  Do you think you kind of fell into that category with the Rockets?

Taylor: I think so.  I was told that I was  caught up in a numbers game.  I kind of saw it from the start.  My first year I wasn’t really worried about it because I was a rookie, I was just trying to get adjusted.  My second year, I came into the season thinking that I was going to play.  I was ready to go, I spent my whole summer working out, but then I could tell from my first practice that  they had the starting five on one team, then the second five on another team and I was on the third team, so I was starting to see that this was going to go the same way as last year.  That’s when I could kind of tell, but I thought I could show them in practice that I deserved to be out there but it didn’t happen that way.

TPP: How tough is it to come in on the first day of camp to that realization that, oh boy, here we go again?  How do you keep yourself up?

Taylor: It wasn’t that hard because it was the first day and I thought that maybe by the end, I could show them that I belong to be out there.  It seemed like no matter what I was doing on the practice court, I wasn’t going to play.  That’s what it seemed like to me.

TPP: I have watched some YouTube clips of you – you are definitely a slasher and a dunker.  Do you consider yourself more of a raw scorer or do you think you can be a shooter in this league as well?

Taylor: Yes, I can most definitely be a shooter.  I just don’t shoot because there hasn’t been too many people who can stop me from getting to the rim.  In college, I was forced to shoot jump shots and I shot, what, 40%.  I have three point records at my college, so I can shoot the ball, I just choose to take it to the rack and get fouled, but if someone stops me or they clog the paint up and I have to shoot it then I’m real comfortable shooting it.

TPP: Where are you at as a defensive player?

Taylor: I admit, in college, I wasn’t a defensive player.  I saved myself for offense, always.  To get into this league, you have to play defense.  I have all the tools to play, I’m athletic, I get down, I’m competitive and I think that’s all you need to be a good defensive player.  I’m getting better.  I don’t want to say I’m the best, but I’m not a bad defender.

TPP: Do you prefer the two or the three or do you think they are interchangeable?

Taylor: It doesn’t matter.  On the teams I’ve played for, they are pretty interchangeable.

TPP: You averaged 26 points a game as a senior in college.  What kind of scorer can you be in the NBA?

Taylor: The same kind.  I have a knack for getting to the rim.  If I’m not scoring by shooting or if I can’t get to the rim, I can score in other ways- fast breaks, getting out in transition, getting a rebound, snatching it and going back up.  Scoring in different ways.

TPP: Who do you think your game resembles or who do you model your game after?

Taylor: I really don’t know, but I’ve heard in the past that I remind people of Dwyane Wade when he first came in the league, but I think that is because we are the same size and we both have that scoring mentality.  Just raw talent.

Taylor is a very confident young guy.  He’s not obnoxiously confident, just a guy who knows he can score.  Coming out of the University of Central Florida, Taylor measured at 6′-4.75″ with an impressive 6′-8.75″ wingspan to go with a 37.5″ max vertical.  He is an elite athlete who plays well above the rim, which the Kings haven’t really had in a long time.  Hopefully we will get a chance to see Jermaine Taylor and Pooh Jeter put on a fast breaking, high flying show off the bench for the Kings sometime in the near future.

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About: James Ham

James Ham provides coverage through news analysis and in-depth interviews with Kings players and staff. James is also one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary "Small Market, Big Heart". James graduated UC Davis with a degree in history and is happily married with two children.