Weight: 198 pounds
Tyrese Maxey burst on the college basketball scene in the opening game of the season. Against Michigan State this past November, Maxey took over Madison Square Garden in a way no Knicks player has in over a decade ... or longer. He poured in 26 points on 7 of 12 shooting from the field as the Wildcats rolled to a win.
Maxey won more than a handful of SEC Player and SEC Freshman of the Week awards throughout the season. Somehow, he missed the First Team All-Conference but was named to the second team and the All-Freshman SEC squad. But his poise on the court, the ability to play both the point and shooting guard postions, and his tendency to take over games late has him in late lottery pick talk.
Maxey is strong and rangy for his size. His shooting numbers won't blow you away, but that's also a product of the system he played in during his lone season under John Calipari. With Ashton Hagans as the primary ball handler and scorer in the backcourt, Maxey was not tasked with taking over the offense even though he showed more than enough to prove himself capable.
He shot a little over 43 percent from the field and just over 29 percent from three. He has excellent form, so making the transition to shooting from the perimeter in the NBA shouldn't be an issue. Maxey shot better than 83 percent from the free throw line, which gives a decent indication of his shooting capabilities. He's a good defender, especially in the pick-and-roll. And his size is a bit deceiving — Maxey can certainly hang with some of the bigger bodies he'll encounter at the next level and can absorb contact as well as create turnovers.
His handle is average to slightly above average, as evidenced by his 3.2/2.2 assist to turnover ratio. Maxey also isn't as fast as some other guards out there, so there is problem for him creating some space for a shot or to make an uncontested pass. He will sometimes force the ball, especially on lobs, but that can be partly attributed to his age (19) and his youth in the game.
Maxey is likely a lottery pick, but if he falls outside of that, there will be several suitors interested in his services, some entertaining the possibility of trading up. His competitiveness was unmatched on both ends of the court on Kentucky's squad this year. He is an all-out player, and not only runs the pick-and-roll well but is an even better defender of it.
One thing that stood out to me about Maxey was his ability to fit into the system, no matter his role. Calipari tweaks his lineups, his offensive and defensive formations, and his schemes throughout the season. Maxey, whether he was running point, playing off the ball, or moving to the role of primary defender, filled every role he was asked. He plays within himself, knowing his game and not getting caught up in trying to do too much. The Sixers would have to trade up to get him, but in return they’d receive a poised combo guard who is ready to contribute right away.
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