The Kameron’s Lens: Taylor looks to make his mark for Maccabi in the double week ahead

Oct 12, 2021 | Holyland Hoops

Maccabi Tel Aviv heads on the road for a Euroleague double week where they’ll visit Milano and ASVEL in Italy and France respectively. With a 1-1 record Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad understands that these two games will be pivotal early season tilts that could move the needle following a disappointing loss to Red Star Belgrade last week at Yad Eliyahu.

The Yellow & Blue will be going up against one of last season’s Final Four teams in Milano under the direction of Ettore Messina who this year has Nicolo Melli at his disposal after the Italian forward decided to return from the NBA. Shavon Shields, Malcolm Delaney, Sergio Rodriguez, Kyle Hines and Luigi Datome all return for the new season, while other newcomers include Jerian Grant and Konstantinos Mitoglou as Messina looks to return to the decisive games of the season in May.

Ioannis Sfairpoulos’s is well aware that last game’s performance against Red Star, which was one of the worst under his direction won’t cut it in Milan and his squad will have to be ready to play with all hands on deck. With numerous new players and a shortened preseason, Maccabi is still trying to find their stride especially with the various lineups that the bench boss may be able to implement.

Kameron Taylor – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

One of those new players is Kameron Taylor who played his college ball at Seton Hill (yes, Hill not Hall) and then went on to play his first professional seasons in the German lower leagues, Hungary and then for the likes of Bamberg and Hamburg in the BBL.

Taylor did not see the floor last Euroleague game but did get plenty of playing time in Israeli league action against Hapoel Haifa on Saturday night as he slowly but surely begins to fit into the coach’s plans.

The Sports Rabbi asked Sfairopoulos about Taylor following the domestic league win about how he sees his potential contribution to the club, “The team is new and I have to admit I haven’t used Kameron the right way until now. He played very well today and he has quality. Sometimes I also have to learn the team and rotations. We didn’t have a lot of games before the season we didn’t have a chance to build these thing. The players are learning me and I am learning the players.”

Taylor himself spoke ahead of the Milano clash just prior to Maccabi flying out to Italy, “We’re all excited and we want to win another Euroleague game. We have to improve our chemistry and keep up our energy for all 40 minutes. Once we get that under control I think we will be a great team.”

Kameron Taylor – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

The swingman also wanted to put the focus on his own team and not the opposition, “We know what type of team Milano is but we have to expect more from ourselves. We need to minimize our mistakes and live with the result at the end.”

Maccabi will need the type of defending that Taylor can provide and a stern test in Milan would be quite the baptism by fire but one that should he stand up to that challenge help the club as the season begins to heat up.

Lukas Feldhaus, The Sports Rabbi’s European Expert based in Germany offered his analysis of Taylor after he had signed earlier his summer:
Kam Taylor’s career has been a rollercoaster so far. Coming out of a D2 college he started his pro career in German D2 for Ehingen, which has always been one of the teams with the lowest budgets in the league.
He was a decent but not impressive factor in helping Ehingen stay in the league by a margin of one win. Taylor was a defensive specialist for them and averaged about 11 points, 4 rebounds in addition to a steal and a block per game. Players who didn’t stand out in German D2 sometimes even had to be afraid of not being able to continue their pro career, especially back then when German D2 did not receive a lot of credit.

Kameron Taylor – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Kam Taylor then moved to Rhöndorf of German D3. Rhöndorf was the farm team of Telekom Baskets Bonn from the BBL. He played outstanding in D3 and dominated with his athleticism and mid-range game. Right after that season, 2017-2018, he would sign with Würzburg of the BBL for the rest of that season. He showed good flashes. However, he struggled to show consistency on the offensive end in Dirk Bauermann’s half court oriented offense. He averaged about 9 points at merely 13 % from 3-pt range in his eight games for Würzburg.
This is why his career experienced a slight set back when he signed with PVSK in the first Hungarian league, which can be considered slightly better than German D2 but worse than the BBL. Taylor played great there and ended up signing with Bamberg of the BBL and BCL in 2019. He had a great start into that season averaging 17.5 points per game in his first four BBL games for Bamberg. However, he lost consistency in Roel Moors’ half court oriented game after a good start. I think that signing a quite similar player in Retin Obasohan early in the season did not help him either. Moreover, he would be out of action for one month due to a shoulder injury. After the Covid break he finished the season strong at the final tournament where he averaged about 13 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists.
After that rather disappointing season for Bamberg, the club wanted a brand new start and therefore parted ways with almost every player, including Kam Taylor. Taylor moved to Hamburg, an ambitious club which came out of a disappointing 2019-2020 campaign which. they finished as last in the standings.

Spencer Weisz and Kameron Taylor – Photo Credit:

Kam Taylor played the best of his career and was the defensive key player for one of the best defensive teams in BBL. He did a great job guarding opponents’ best wing players. Moreover, he played a great season offensively as an off-guard or point forward. He was very consistent through that season except for a small period after he suffered from a minor hamstring Injury. Unfortunately, he had to sit out the last small part of the season due to an ankle injury. He came back for the first playoff game but re-injured his ankle in that game.
Kam Taylor’s biggest quality is his defense on the wing. He is a physical player with great wingspan who can guard every position from 1 to 3. He even defended at the 4 position for Bamberg and Hamburg on occasions. He is great at playing deny defense and anticipating plays. He had 8 steals in a game against Bamberg last season. Moreover, his off-ball awareness is excellent. He is a good defensive rebounder and has also averaged at least 0.5 in five seasons, which is a great number for a guard/wing. His main weakness on defense may be his lateral quickness, which is not on a very high level. He is a stronger defender at the wing positions. He will definitely fit into Ioannis Sfairopoulos’ defensive schemes as he is good at executing and as he can also switch on taller players, although Hamburg did not have a lot of switching on their defense.
Offensively his biggest quality is probably his ability to handle the ball as a player of his size. In addition, he is good at attacking the rim and drawing fouls. In Rhöndorf his signature move was the mid-range pull-up jumper. However, he has extended his range a bit over the years and now takes more 3s. He averaged 4.4 3-p attempts for Hamburg (per RealGM) last season which has been the largest amount of 3-pt attempts in his professional career. His main weaknesses on offense have been his confidence in his 3-pt shot and the lack of superb ball handling skills in my opinion. Granted he is a good ball handler for his size, he sometimes struggles to create separation against agile defenders. In addition, he has not been an overly creative passer. Moreover, he has been quite hesitant at taking 3s except in his recent year with Hamburg despite even shooting 40 3P% in some seasons. It remains to be seen if he can stick to his performances and quality as a wing playmaker if he has a smaller role on EuroLeague level. It would help his game if Maccabi could stick to their fast-paced offense from the 2019-2020 campaign.

Amit Simhon and Kameron Taylor – Photo Credit:

All in all, Maccabi can look forward to a potentially great defender with a big heart and glue guy qualities and a versatile package on offense. He was one of the engines to an excellent season for Hamburg in 2019-2020 and could also mature into one of the fan’s favorites in Tel Aviv.

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