NBA Draft 2020 Profile: Kentucky’s Tyrese Maxey offers size and speed at guard

by Alex Labidou
Nuggets.com Staff Writer
@LabidouA

With the NBA Draft less than a week out, Nuggets.com takes a look at 10 prospects who have been heavily-linked to the team through various mock drafts.

Kentucky is a powerhouse when it comes to producing NBA-caliber talent and the school’s leading prospect this year is point guard Tyrese Maxey.

Standing at 6-foot-3, Maxey is likely to slot in at point guard in the NBA, but he has the versatility and positional awareness to play shooting guard as well. He is not a natural pass-first point guard, which might raise concerns for some NBA teams, but he has shown enough playmaking in that area to be a positive factor. He has also shown a lot of promise on the defensive end and has the wingspan (6-foot-7) to be a solid defender in the pros.

 

Considering the Nuggets’ emphasis on position-less basketball and the fact they don’t necessarily need to give their rookies heavy minutes, Maxey could be another exciting addition the team if he is selected by Denver.

 

Here is more about Maxey:

Age: 20

School: Kentucky

Grade: Freshman

Position: Guard

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 198 pounds

2019-20 Stats: 

PPG: 14.0

RPG: 4.3

APG: 3.2

FG: 42.7

3PT: 29.2

NBA Comparison: Cuttino Mobley/Tyreke Evans

PROFILE: Maxey has a lot of solid attributes, which should translate well into the NBA. The key for the 20-year-old will be turning some of those assets into elite level strengths, especially when it comes to shot selection and converting from downtown.

He is a below-average three-point shooter at 29.2 percent and his shot selection overall was concerning. Considering his age and potential, those are areas where he can improve. He also shines in pick-and-roll situations. According to Synergy, Maxey hit 0.93 points per pick and roll possession [86th percentile in the NCAA]. With the Nuggets using that offensive play pretty regularly, Maxey could come in and have an impact immediately in that area.

 

Maxey’s defensive potential might be even more impressive. Although he wasn’t one to force many turnovers, averaging just under a steal a game, he is good at staying on his feet and moving laterally. He was often tasked with guarding the opposition’s shooting guard, which at times were players who were taller and bigger than he was. He more than held his own. 

With the Nuggets utilizing Jamal Murray more as a two-guard at times during the bubble and throughout the season, there is the potential for Maxey to help the Nuggets in continuing to utilize him there.

 

What they’re saying:

Positives:

“Despite regularly guarding taller wings, Maxey held his own on the defensive end last season. He may not have forced many turnovers, but he used his size and length well to pressure the ball and allowed only 0.26 points per one-on-one possession [97th percentile]. 

Doing a nice job getting over screens at times and containing smaller guards in spurts, he showed the two-way potential that earned him accolades at the prep level.”

 

-- Synergy, NBA.com 

 

Negatives:

 

Needs to improve his ability to create open looks and improve upon his shot selection … Too often forced contested shots, instead of moving the ball or working harder for an open look … Not the most explosive of leapers … Not what you would consider an above the rim athlete … Can get up and dunk at times, but really his skill set is more predicated on speed and quickness and scoring, utilizing his repertoire as opposed to relying on athleticism. 

- NBADraft.net 

 

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