The Washington Wizards are likely to have a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...
2020 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Tyrese Maxey
2019/20 stats: 31 G, 34.5 mpg, 14.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.2 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.4 bpg, 42.7 FG% (4.8/11.3), 29.2 3PT% (1.1/3.6), 83.3 FT%
Player comparison: Kyle Lowry, less-accurate Tyler Herro
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 12th, Sports Illustrated 10th, Ringer 9th, NBADraft.net 8th, Bleacher Report 12th
5 things to know:
*Maxey is an extremely dynamic scorer who can finish at all three levels. He's a knock-down shooter from the outside but has the body control and strength to finish at the rim. A knock on him is his low release, which is sometimes slow and often leads to his inaccuracy from the field. His 29% 3-point shooting is low for a team to take a chance on a smaller guard. Most importantly though, his percentages seem to go up in clutch moments.
*There were three point guards on Kentucky's roster last season, including Maxey. As a result, the 6-foot-3 guard played as the two-guard in most lineups and occasionally served as a ballhandler. In college, it was a challenge for him to create space for himself. He best fits in an off-the-ball type setting predicated on constant movement and the motion offense.
*Even before Maxey made it to Kentucky he got some valuable feedback from an NBA star. Marcus Smart worked out with the then 17-year-old Maxey and gave him a nice shoutout on Twitter.
*Maxey is a huge Marvel fan and has not missed a single movie in the franchise. Before the season started, he compared all of his Kentucky teammates to Marvel characters. He chose Spiderman for himself.
*In his collegiate debut, he quickly displayed his scoring ability by putting up 26 points against Michigan State. There was a stretch where he scored or assisted on 14 straight points. For the long and talent-filled history of Kentucky, only one other player has scored that many points in their first game.
Fit with Wizards:
The Wizards have to assume they already have their version of Maxey in Bradley Beal and Troy Brown Jr. Playmaking off-the-ball guards who also have a background as facilitators. There are much bigger areas of need for the team, especially in the post, finding a long-term back-up point guard and wing depth.
None of those holes would be where Maxey would fit on the team. Still, a team can never have too many competent ballhandlers that can score.
Maxey would just add another piece to where Washington already has a strength.
He would be an improvement for the Wizards' defensive efforts. Maxey has a high basketball IQ that makes him a phenomenal off-ball defender. However, he is limited in how he cannot guard well enough outside of the guard position.
Like many of the other top-end lottery prospects, he could likely contribute from day one and make the roster for the new season. Assuming Beal and John Wall are relied on in the same capacity from Scott Brooks though, Maxey would be buried down the depth chart. A lot of his offensive upside is dependent on his touches because his numbers don't exactly jump off the page. Washington would likely want him to shore up his shooting motion as well before giving him meaningful minutes.
If the Wizards are picking ninth or higher, there really doesn't appear to be a scenario where they take the Kentucky SG. There are just too many other immediate needs that can be addressed.
Best highlight video:
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