Everything You Need To Know About Tyrese Maxey

Tyrese Maxey is the next Kentucky prospect who deserves to go in the Lottery. He is an explosive scorer who has also shown flashes of being a solid playmaker. If he can become a consistent shooter and not be abused defensively, Maxey will be in the league for a long time.

Tyrese Maxey is a versatile scoring guard who has continued to grow his game throughout the season.

Maxey was a well-known recruit out of high school, but he exploded onto the scene after his first game against Michigan State. In this game, he scored 26 points on 58 percent shooting with 5 rebounds. While Maxey didn’t continue to put up gaudy numbers all season, he was very productive and showed a skill set that will make him an easy lottery pick.

At just 6’3 and 198 pounds, Maxey lacks the size of most shooting guards in the NBA. This will be a major obstacle that Maxey will have to overcome, especially on defense. Opponents will look to target him in switches, and it will be difficult to play him next to a smaller point guard.

Per Synergy, Maxey is a solid overall defender allowing just .717 points per possession (PPP) (83rd percentile). On the surface, these numbers are encouraging, but the concerns begin to rise as we dig deeper. Let’s start with the positives, though.

When Maxey is directly engaged in the play and singularly focused on his man, he can be a solid defender. When defending isolation plays, Maxey is in the 96th percentile. He has quick feet and uses his instincts to focus on his man without worrying about screens or positioning himself in passing lanes.

Maxey also does a great job of staying with his man through off-ball screens (91st percentile). Similarly, to isolation defense, Maxey only needs to focus on staying with his man. He is very quick and takes great routes to avoid screens.

The issues come when Maxey is required to do multiple things in one possession. When defending the pick-and-roll ball-handler, Maxey ranks in the 49th percentile. He struggles to fight through and correctly read screens.

Maxey’s difficulty with defensive discipline and decision making is also evident when he is defending spot-up shooters. In these situations, Maxey ranks in the 22nd percentile. He gets caught ball watching and struggles to stay in a good guarding position between his man and the ball.

When Maxey can lock in defensively, though, he can be a solid contributor. The hope is, that once Maxey gets more coaching and experience, he can improve his overall awareness.

While defense is a major component of basketball, it has never been what Maxey is known for. The most exciting component of Maxey’s game is his tendency to score in bunches.

This season, Maxey averaged 14 points on 42.7 percent shooting with 3.2 assists. For an undersized freshman shooting guard, these are intriguing numbers. The apprehension comes with Maxey’s shooting, though.

This season, Maxey shot just 29.2 percent from three. Maxey had games where he shot over 60 percent from three that would be followed up with long stretches where he struggles to break 20 percent.

While Maxey proved to be a competent shooter off the dribble (53rd percentile), he struggled as an off-ball shooter where he ranked in the 20th percentile. Maxey is a player that feeds off the rhythm of the game and having the ball in his hand.

This is where the blend of Maxey’s lack of size and lack of traditional playmaking create a blurry picture of his future development since he is reliant on having the ball. On one hand, Maxey has only shown flashes of playmaking, but on the other, Kentucky players are notorious for having much more to their game than they’re allowed to show.

Regardless, Maxey is the most comfortable and effective when he has the ball. When running the pick-and-roll, Maxey produces .928 PPP (86th percentile). Maxey is just an average shooter out of these situations (54th percentile), but he is great at attacking the rim and scoring with floaters.

When Maxey attacks the rim out of the pick-and-roll, he scores 1.121 PPP (70th percentile). Despite his smaller stature, Maxey utilizes his quickness, change of pace dribbling, and touch to regularly score.

In the below clip, we see how comfortable Maxey is in the pick-and-roll. Maxey shows his patience and waits for his defender to make the first move. Once Maxey notices his defender position his hips the wrong way and the screener's defender move to hedge the pick, Maxey immediately makes a move towards the baseline. Even though Maxey has his defender beat right away, he still must be wary of getting his shot blocked. Since there is no weak side shot-blocking threat, Maxey does a great job of using his body and the rim to negate his defender's shot-blocking ability and finish with a reverse layup.

Maxey also displays his great touch when finishing with floaters out of the pick-and-roll, where he ranks in the 85th percentile with 1.062 PPP. He uses his quickness, change of pace, and creative footwork to get in the lane and create space. These traits also help him create for others.

When surrounded by the right pieces, Maxey shouldn’t have any issues running the pick-and-roll. Kentucky only scored .82 PPP (40th percentile) when Maxey passed to spot-up shooters out of the pick-and-roll, but Kentucky only shot 34.3 percent from three this season. Once he’s surrounded by competent shooters, this number should improve.

Maxey is also adept at setting up the screener for an easy bucket. When he passed to the roll man, Kentucky scored 1.148 PPP (76th percentile). With his herky-jerky dribbling, Maxey confuses defenders and uses the same soft touch of his floaters to throw well-placed lobs.

Ranking in the 84th percentile with 1.235 PPP, Maxey also puts his quickness and creative dribbling on full display when running in transition.

As Maxey brings the ball up, he gets an ideal mismatch on the opposing center. Maxey recognizes that his defender is squared up, which creates a myriad of options for Maxey to exploit. With two defenders in the paint, Maxey decides to use a quick hesitation crossover, which easily beats his initial defender’s lazy swipe. As Maxey is taking off for his layup, the weak side shot blocker rotates at the last second. Most players end up with their shot landing in the third row, but Maxey’s athleticism and creativity allow him to finish with an acrobatic reverse layup.

Going forward, the biggest concern with Maxey is his sporadic shooting. Sure, his size will limit him defensively, but it hasn’t hindered him at all on offense. He blows past defenders with his quickness, freezes defenders with his change-of-pace dribbling, and confuses defenders with his creative footwork.

Maxey's raw numbers suggest that he isn’t a great playmaker, but as the year has progressed, he has found ways of advertising his passing ability. The hope is that Maxey is the next Kentucky prospect we look back on and ask, where did that come from?

Maxey will initially be used as a spark plug scorer. If his team limits him to that, though, they will never realize his full potential. If, however, he gets put in a situation where he is surrounded by a decent rim-runner and solid shooters, Maxey has the skills to develop into a solid primary ball-handler, instead of just an inefficient off-ball scorer.

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