When a top high school recruit commits to a highly regarded collegiate program, expectations get higher, pressure mounts, and it immediately becomes “all eyes on you”. Tyrese Maxey decided to make a statement with his first game on the big stage against Michigan State dropping 26 points on 7-12 shooting off the bench. This was his introduction to the college basketball world and now his one-and-done potential is at an all time high.
Maxey is a spark-plug combo guard for the Kentucky Wildcats. It’s clear his most marketable skill will be scoring in bunches, as he uses a quick first step to get by defenders to attack the rim. When attacking, he’s a good finisher who finds creative ways to get the ball in the basket considering he’s not the biggest or most explosive guard. He does, however, have sneaky leaping ability when in space and isn’t afraid to finish with a dunk.
Another highlight about Maxey’s game is that he’s very good in transition, averaging 1.176 points-per-possession (per Synergy). He’s fast and holds a multitude of open court moves to get to them rim. It’s exciting to watch him on the fastbreak, so I feel his ideal fit will be in a fast paced offense in the NBA.
Where his stock suffers is his streaky shooting. Some believe that Maxey’s ceiling is simply an above average scorer coming off the bench, and that may be the role he plays as a young player in the League. However, if he wants to be more than that, he’ll need to improve his jump shot in both pull-up and spot-up situations. Per Synergy, he’s only a 40th percentile spot up shooter. While great shooters always seem to have an effortlessness to their jump shot, it’s not something you find with Maxey and the proof is in the numbers. He’s currently shooting 30.3% from three on 4 attempts per game. Per Synergy, he’s below average in catch-and-shoot situations only converting on 0.682 PPP. His jumpers of the dribble show more promise converting on 0.833 PPP in these kinds of situations which is a result of his “light it up” offensive ability.
Questions arise from what position he’d best fit on the next level. At 6’3” and nearly 200 pounds, he measures well as a point guard but his skills don’t exactly resonate as one. He’s likely to play a combo guard role, but is excellent as a pick & roll ball handler converting at 0.966 PPP. While his assist output doesn’t jump off the page (3.0 assists per game after 16 games), he’s made some high level reads and promising plays out of this situation. He’s currently sharing the backcourt with Ashton Hagans who plays more of the point guard role for the Wildcats. Whoever drafts Maxey will want to properly develop him by focusing on his shooting and allowing him to gain experience running an offense. This will create more opportunities and will greatly maximize the ceiling for both him, and the team.
Defense is what is going to get Tyrese Maxey on the court early in his professional career. He’s a true competitor on the defensive end and the numbers back it up ranking in the 88th-percentile and only giving up 0.636 PPP. His wingspan is good for his size at 6’6” giving him the potential to guard three positions in the NBA. He plays with a really high basketball IQ, and pairs it with quick feet and hips. Maxey excels at ball denial, and has proven to have value as both an on and off-ball defender.
Overall, Tyrese Maxey has the potential to bring tremendous two-way energy to an NBA roster. He’s a lottery talent who, in our Mock Draft 1.0 is selected at #6 by the Wizards. With proper development in key areas, Maxey can develop in a high level guard with a long NBA career.
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