Denton: Maxiell Shares Memories with Former Teammates

By John Denton
Dec. 27, 2013

ORLANDO – Around his former Detroit Pistons teammates on Thursday for the first time in months, Orlando Magic power forward Jason Maxiell shared several laughs and caught up on all of the things that he had missed of late.

Then, the group – led predominantly by player development coach Rasheed Wallace – stuck Maxiell with the check for the dinner. Ahhh, just like old times, Maxiell said, shaking his head. Maxiell spent the first eight years of his NBA career in Detroit before signing a free-agent contract with the Magic in the offseason. Tonight, when the Magic (8-20) host the Pistons (14-16), it will be the first time that Maxiell is facing his former team, and he’s very much looking forward to it.

``This will be my first time and I want to go out there and get a win,’’ Maxiell said. ``I want to go out there and beat ‘em up, the same as practice (last year in Detroit) and do my thing.’’ Orlando is in the midst of its longest home stand of the season, but so far it has dropped games to Utah, Sacramento and New York. Home games remain against Detroit (tonight), Atlanta (Sunday) and Golden State (Tuesday).

``It’s very important (to win) because these are all capable wins for us,’’ Magic guard Arron Afflalo said. ``We have to do the right things preparation wise and then come game time, we have to handle our responsibilities competing for the win.’’

Maxiell is averaging just 4.3 points and 2.8 rebounds for the Magic, but he’s played a variety of roles for the team. He started at power forward early in the season when Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis was out, and he’s capably played at center when Nikola Vucevic was injured with a sprained ankle.

And just like in Detroit, Maxiell is working as a mentor for Magic young post players Andrew Nicholson and Kyle O’Quinn. Maxiell was a starter much of last season – when he posted career highs in several categories – and he taught several tricks of the trade to young Detroit big men Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. Maxiell takes great pride in seeing those players grow into promising players now.

``I was talking to Andre last night and there are some things that he’s doing offensively that I taught him in the past,’’ Maxiell said with a chuckle. ``Hopefully he doesn’t use them against me because if he does I know that it’s going to hurt. I taught him well with that.’’

Much of what Maxiell learned about the NBA game came from time spent with Pistons veterans Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, Dale Davis, Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton. Billups is back as a backup point guard, while Rasheed Wallace has returned as a development coach.

And Maxiell also has a link to several of the current players because of his eight-year run in Detroit. He’s hoping that knowledge will help him out tonight when he has to guard Drummond and Monroe in the low post.

``I have years of practice with those guys and I know what they are going to do. And if it gets physical down low, I know what Greg is going to do, what Andre is going to do,’’ Maxiell said. ``I know that Andre will be attacking the glass (for rebounds) all night and (Rodney) Stuckey will be attacking the rim. I pretty much know what they are going to do.’’