Possesses good size for an NBA point guard (if he can make the transition), with a strong upper body. Has good enough quickness to get to where he wants to get to on the floor. Possesses a solid handle which is good enough to make him a capable ball-handler in the NCAA.
Dean's biggest strength at the NBA level is that he's a great shooter with excellent range and a quick release. He
s also a good free throw shooter. When his jumpshot is on he is easily one of the top five shooters in America. He gets good lift on his jumpshot which allows him to get his shot off against virtually any guard in the college game.
Dean is a competitive player who understands the game, although his feel is not one of a true point guard, but rather understands how to come off screens and manipulate his defender to get open looks at the basket.
He flashes the ability to break his man down off the dribble, although nowhere nearly consistent enough to project him at the PG or SG position in the NBA. Shows the athletic ability to defend point guards and has the size and strength to defend the position at the next level. Has improved as a shooter in every season. Shows tremendous heart and desire as evidenced by his play in the regional final battling injuries to his ankle and leg.
Somewhat one-dimensional right now in the NCAA as he is almost strictly a spot-up shooter. At this point he's a tweener with no NBA position. Does not have a point guards feel for the game, or the skills teams look for at that position. Although he does a fairly decent job of getting his team into their offense, he still leaves a lot to be desired in terms of decision making and creating opportunities for his teammates. Louisville's offense often allows Francisco Garcia to handle the point guard duties, which may tell you how Rick Pitino feels about Dean and his point guard skills. Dean will HAVE to improve his point guard skills to have any shot at making the league as he will not be able to play the two spot due to his lack of size.
Tends to rely on his jumpshot too much, often settling for a jumper when a much better shot is available. Doesn't show the ability to shoot off the dribble, which is something that he will have to develop when teams crowd him and force him to put the ball on the floor. No real mid-range game either. Ball-handling still needs to improve to become a full time NBA PG.
Taquan Dean plays in Conference USA, which is considered to be one of the 6 power conferences in college basketball. The conference has produced it's share of impact NBA players over recent years with guys like Kenyon Martin, and Quentin Richardson. Dean has had some big games against some of the top teams and point guards in the country. He had a 14 point outing in 21 minutes against Jarret Jack from Georgia Tech, who is widely considered to be a first round pick. He had 22 points against a good Florida team, but only managed to score 9 on 3 for 10 shooting against Kentucky. Dean also won MVP of the conference tournament in Memphis.
Dean is an intriguing prospect because he possesses some of the physical qualities that NBA teams look for in point guards (size, athletic ability). He is a tough, gritty competitor who shoots the ball with a tremendous amount of confidence, and there is always a place in the NBA for shooters. Dean would be well advised to stay in school for his senior season in order to display better instincts and overall point guard play, if he doesn't he'll be labeled as a one dimensional player. If he can show improved playmaking skills next year, or at least the potential to be able to play PG like a Mike James or Damon Jones in the NBA, he has a shot at being a 2nd rounder next year. If not, he will likely be categorized as an extremely undersized 2 guard and likely sent off to Europe. Daniel Ewing from Duke would be a good example of a player who has shown some PG potential in his senior year after being considered strictly a 2 guard in his three years prior, and might end up making the league because of that. Dean is in the right situation to have an even bigger impact for Louisville next year, as his leadership and experience will be desperately needed by Rick Pitino.