One of my favorite experiences is when you love a players game, and after doing a deep dive, you love their game even more. I felt that way about PJ Washington, and I feel that way now about Kentucky’s Tyrese Maxey.
Maxey is a 6’3 guard, with a 6’6 wingspan, who weighs 198 lbs. Maxey will be 19 when he’s drafted to the Charlotte Hornets in 2020.
There were concerns heading into the year that Maxey would be pinned as a lead guard even though his skill-set lends itself more to a combo-guard. Whether or not this misunderstanding has been alleviated or not I don’t know, but playing alongside Ashton Hagans has allowed Maxey to show his ability to play without the ball in his hands.
Maxey’s shooting percentages don’t look great, but I’m confident in Maxey’s shooting potential. He’s currently shooting 24.5% from behind the arc on 4.5 3PA per game. And yet, I believe Maxey is not only going to be a passable shooter, but an above average shooter (>35%) on good volume. The main reason I project Maxey being a shooter is his incredible touch. You can see here with his floaters:
And you can see it here on some catch-and-shoot 3s:
Maxey is a able and very confident shooter off-the-dribble:
It’s really impressive how most of Maxey’s makes don’t even seem to hit the net. He swishes most of his makes on floaters, spot-up attempts, and pull-ups.
Maxey is also a 83.3% shooter from the free throw line on 4.4 attempts per game.
Maxey’s release is quick, his mechanics are fundamentally sound, and consistent. He shoots with complete confidence, he hops into his spot-ups, and clearly has NBA range. If you weren’t aware of his percentages, you would think he’s a shooter watching him play, and I think he is too.
Maxey has a knack for beating defenders to spots, and when they arrive second he draws the foul:
He currently is shooting 4.4 free throw attempts per game, and has a 41.7 FTr (free throw rate). For reference James Harden’s free throw rate is currently at .507. Maxey gets to the line quite a bit.
The major reason seems to be the way Maxey just glides across the court. The way Maxey runs with grace, power, and balance reminds me of Kyle Lowry:
Compare that with Maxey:
Projecting Maxey as a shooter, I think he’s going to be able to score very easily between his jumper on & off the ball.
And with his combination of strength & balance, he can finish through contact:
And he also has the ability to pull off some finesse finishing:
Maxey is a good passer.
He has touch on lobs:
Quick passing with a live dribble:
And he’s a good decision maker:
Maxey doesn’t have elite or even subelite vision, but he plays off what the defense gives him, and makes good reads consistently. On 22.9% usage, his assist% is 19.4 with a 14.3 turnover%. Maxey is a guy you can trust to make good reads whether he’s attacking close outs, the PnR ball-handler, or coming off screens/dribble hand-offs.
I love that Maxey is consistently engaged on defense and aware of help-responsibilities:
Maxey is a formidable on-ball defender with his combination of lateral speed, the speed he opens up his hips turning to different directions, and his strength:
Maxey is a good point-of-attack defender due to his ability to get over screens while avoiding contact:
There is a solid foundation for a plus-defender who can do everything you need. He can guard POA, on-ball, and off-ball. I think Maxey can easily guard 1-2, and with his strength I think hes a passable if not good (matchup dependent) defender at the 3.
Maxey is a player who has a high-floor. If you buy the shooting, as I do, then he can spot-up. He’s a good decision maker who has good passing skills and vision. He’s a good finisher who can play through contact and draw fouls. He’s a versatile, gifted, and smart defender.
And yet, Maxey is by no means low-upside. He’s shown plenty evidence to be a potential plus-shooter, pull-up threat, someone who can get to the rim off-the-dribble, part-time PnR creator, and part-time facilitator.
As the Hornets have over-performed expectations they may be out of the Anthony Edwards or LaMelo Ball range, but Maxey will be close to where they pick in June in that 4-8 range. And I think Maxey should be at the *top* of that list. He has a very high-floor, plenty of potential, and his game can fit with any lineup. It’s no secret I love Tyrese Maxey’s game, I think he’s a good starter on a good team, and I hope that team is Charlotte come the 20/21 season.