Age: 19 (November 4th, 2000)
Weight: 200 lbs
Tyrese really impressed most with effort. It’s rare to see talented players like him play with so much effort on every possession. His best strength offensively was as a driver. Maxey was a real threat despite how short he was. He has a great right handed floater along with impressive body control makes him a real threat as it allows him to finish at the rim around defenders. Maxey is a good ball-handler for a combo-guard as he’s comfortable with both hands and does a good job of changing speeds. He uses this to create for himself as well as others on occasion as a secondary playmaker. His jumper needs improvement, but did show promising flashes at times especially in the mid-range. The key for him was balance, and that was a bad habit he developed. He has very good confidence in his jumper though and a strong work ethic. This should give him the benefit of the doubt that he will be able to clean it up. It is also worth noting he shot 83.3% from the free throw line. His play on the defensive end was impressive. He played with heart and played any role he was asked to play. Tyrese is a very solid on-ball defender and while he doesn’t create many turnovers, he does his job staying in front of his man and is a much better defender than he’s credited for. When Kentucky needed him to lock down Devoe against Georgia Tech (who was heating up and their best player), they trusted him – not Ashton Hagans (who has a reputation of being a lockdown defender) to complete the assignment and Maxey did his part and they won the game largely because of it. When Maxey was asked to be the man and close the game; we saw him close games against Georgia, Louisville, and Michigan State. Overall, this kid has a lot of promising skills and has the talent of a lottery prospect. He showed no ego and played hard no matter how many touches he was getting. That showed maturity and his willingness to be a winner.
The obvious weakness for Maxey is his height at 6’3. That combined with the fact he’s not a very good playmaker and shooter at this point in his career is what really hurts his value. His jump shot is inconsistent and did disappoint especially from 3 as he only shot 29.2% from there. This was due to multiple reasons. First of all, his jump shot looked much better when he was on balance. Then he also has a lower release. This unfortunately led to him changing his mechanics when a hand was in his face. I also don’t think coach Calipari’s heavy floppy offense is great for shooters because to get themselves open, they are constantly moving and you’d have to imagine their legs are tired before they get their shot as they are sprinting from one wing to the other. For example, Tyler Herro is known as a great sharpshooter in the NBA, especially for a rookie. Has great mechanics along with confidence and yet he only shot 35.5%. Furthermore, decision-making is an area Maxey needs to improve to be a secondary playmaker for an offense. His positive assist/turnover ratio was encouraging, but he definitely only recognizes basic reads at this point in time. With his ability to handle and score, the playmaking should come along naturally as defenses will have to focus on him as a threat to score. On defense, Maxey doesn’t use his long wingspan to his advantage to create turnovers as he averaged 0.9 SPG. Then off the ball, Maxey has errors in rotation like many 19 year old prospects. Overall though, the effort is always there trying to make the right play. That is just an area he will have to continue to improve and most likely will.
Despite the natural playmaking, shooting, or ideal height for a SG, Maxey is going to be a very good player in any situation he gets thrown into. Work ethic goes a long way in this league and he’s got it. Maxey reminds me of when Donavon Mitchell came out. Mitchell had many of the same knocks on him that Maxey has now and look at the career Mitchell has made for himself. I really don’t like comparisons, but most of the flaws people give Maxey are the same as the one Mitchell had. Mitchell is obviously a freak athlete with his crazy vert, quick first step, and 6’10” wingspan. Besides that, their games are similar to an extent and there is little doubt that Maxey can’t succeed and be one of the draft’s top steals especially if he’s falling in the 20s based on where these mock drafts have him being selected. Tyrese has one of the best work ethics in the class and would immediately come in and compete day 1. Yes his mechanics need work, but once you become a professional, your work is your life and Maxey is the type to embrace that. You can’t put a price on his ceiling quite yet. It’s possible he eventually is a borderline all-star player or maybe he’s a good 6th man on a winning team. We don’t know yet. What we do know is that he plays winning basketball, is a good teammate, is a scorer, good on-ball defender, and hasn’t given doubt he can’t improve his shooting or his playmaking. Maxey is a lottery talent, but it’s most definitely possible he falls as most don’t view him as highly as we do. He will be a name to remember for teams picking in the teens.
Article Written by Bradley Patten
Stats found on Sports Reference (https://www.sports-reference.com)
Tyrese Maxey Measurements found on NBA.com (https://www.nba.com/draft/2020/prospects/tyrese-maxey?ls=nba#/)
Photo Credit to Todd Kirkland/Getty Images (https://pelicandebrief.com/2020/05/20/new-orleans-pelicans-tyrese-maxey/2/)