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Duke women's basketball 2022-23 player preview: Celeste Taylor

Celeste Taylor is expected to enter the WNBA draft after this season.
Celeste Taylor is expected to enter the WNBA draft after this season.

As the college basketball season looms, it's finally time for the Blue Zone to preview the 2022-23 Duke women's basketball roster. We previously looked at Bo Shaffer, Emma Schmidt, Jiselle Havas, Lee Volker, Imani Lewis, Emma Koabel, Vanessa de Jesus Mia Hiede, Kennedy Brown, Shay Bollin, Jordyn Oliver, Reigan Richardson, Taya Corosdale, Ashlon Jackson, Elizabeth Balogun and Shayeann Day-Wilson. We wrap up with Celeste Taylor:

Celeste Taylor

Year: Senior

Height: 5-foot-11

Position: Guard

Last year’s stat line: 28.6 MPG, 11.0 PPG, 2.1 APG, 1.8 SPG

Game breakdown: Alfred Korzybski, the father of general semantics, once said: “A map is not the territory it represents; but if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness.” Such is true for basketball players and their stats: A player is not her stat line, but if the stats provide an accurate conception of her game, they are of value. And for Celeste Taylor, the stats tell a clear story.

Taylor has an argument as the ACC’s best backcourt defender, evidenced by her ranking in the top 10% of all Division I guards in block-plus-steal rate every year, per CBB Analytics. She gets there both on-ball, by using great burst and lateral quickness to defend opponents’ best guards over all kinds of screens, and off-ball, with help defense.

Taylor is also a quality shot-creator from the midrange, reflected in her shooting a solid 41.2% mark from within the arc with a very high 72.9% of those 2-pointers being unassisted, per Pivot Analysis. She’s got a smooth pull-up midrange jumper, uses ball screens well and hits open teammates.

Taylor’s biggest weakness when she came into college was her jumper, and it was an area of concern when she transferred from Texas to Duke. But her shot has continually improved: She shot 31.5% on open catch-and-shoot jumpers as a freshman, 32.9% as a sophomore and 36.7% as a junior; and she hit only 16.7% off the dribble as a freshman, 30.4% as a sophomore and 32.6% as a junior, per Synergy.

Role on the team: Taylor ended last year as one of only two reliable shot-creators the Blue Devils had, along with Shayeann Day-Wilson. Serving both as a top-two scoring threat and the top perimeter defense for Duke overtasked Taylor. But with none of Duke’s transfers profiling as dominant scorers, she figures to fill the same role until underclassmen like Ashlon Jackson and Reigan Richardson are able to help create offense and lessen Taylor’s load on the offensive end.

Projected stats: 27.5 MPG, 11.0 PPG, 1.5 APG, 1.1 SPG


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