Utah Jazz NBA Draft Prospects: Tyrese Maxey
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The NBA Draft is little more than two weeks away, and the Utah Jazz are in the predraft process of arranging their big board. One player who has seen him name protected from the late lottery to the late first round is Kentucky guard Tyrese Maxey. Would the spark plug scorer be a fit for the Jazz?
The Jazz need to hit on their first-round pick this year after trading their first-rounder last year for Mike Conley. The Jazz don’t own a 2021 first-round pick either, robbing the team of young talent on cost-controlled contracts. To make matters worse, the Jazz traded this year’s second-round pick in 2018 in a move to acquire Kyle Korver who is no longer with the team.
Tyrese Maxey: 6’3, 198 lbs Guard – Fr – Kentucky
14 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 42% FG/29% 3p/83% FT
Tyrese Maxey is one of the most exciting prospects in the draft, especially for players not projected to be drafted in the top 10. The Kentucky freshman appears built for the biggest stages of basketball, never shying away from the spotlight.
During the most important moments of Kentucky’s season, Maxey wanted the ball in his hands and regularly delivered.
The freshman guard is a skilled combo guard able to operate both as a primary playmaker or a scorer off the ball. At 6’3 with a 6’6 wingspan, Maxey showed the ability to compete on both ends of the floor with college basketball’s best talent.
With potential top-10 pick Tyrese Maxey officially entering the NBA Draft (via @malika_andrews), learn more about his game by watching our in-depth Film Session with the Kentucky guard live from Lexington. https://t.co/uW5mKrxSWY pic.twitter.com/ZH66xP8j7o
— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) April 6, 2020
Shows good activity on and off the ball on offense. Maxey is a willing ball mover who spaces and respaces the floor when operating away from the play. Decisive with the ball in his hand and rarely makes the wrong play.
High basketball IQ, understands what his teammates should be doing in Kentucky’s system and makes the most of it. Maxey makes the right decision in transition or when plays breakdown due to a natural feel for the game.
Not an elite defensive player but significantly better than most college freshman with his scoring acumen. Doesn’t get burnt off the dribble and recovers to contest jump shooters. The effort is definitely there.
— UK Sports Network (@UKSportsNetwork) March 1, 2020
Maxey can create a shot for himself in the halfcourt with his developed handle and smooth pull up jump shot. The freshman guard makes decisions as plays unfold, not locking himself into a bad decision when leading the offense.
Dangerous in transition with his combination of size, speed, and leaping ability. He won’t put many defenders on posters in the NBA but doesn’t struggle to finish above the rim due to his wingspan and athleticism.
Has true star potential with his ability to create offense for himself and others, but lacks the boom or bust potential of other homerun swing draft picks due to his stable ability to run an offense as a complementary ball-handler and strong defender for his position.
The top concern for Maxey is his low three-point shooting percentage in college. Maxey connected on just 29 percent of his attempts despite 3.6 attempts per game. He’s a willing shooter even when it wasn’t falling, and too often his shot wasn’t falling.
Had several games shooting 0-3 or worse from deep but wasn’t deterred from shooting the ball. Maxey didn’t just miss difficult three-point attempts, a lot of his misses came on open looks that simply didn’t fall.
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) February 8, 2020
Tends to fall in love with throwing difficult lob passes to his bigs, even in tight situations. With the NBA’s spacing that might not be much of an issue, but sometimes Maxey just needs to make the right play rather than the flashy play.
He’ll be able to guard both guard spots in the NBA, but likely doesn’t offer much versatility beyond that. He’s wiry strong, but not bulky.
How Would Tyrese Maxey Fit With The Jazz In The Draft?
When examining the draft, teams tend to look at three things; talent, need, culture. For the Jazz, Maxey certainly checks two of the three boxes, talent, and culture, and could easily fulfill a need depending on what happens with Jordan Clarkson and Mike Conley in the coming months.
The Jazz have a history of drafting players from blueblood programs with excellent length and Maxey fits that description. Furthermore, the Kentucky freshman has an excellent head on his shoulder made very apparent from his media appearances.
There is a lot of Donovan Mitchell in his persona both on the floor and off.
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) February 10, 2020
While the Jazz have one of the league’s deepest backcourts, especially if Clarkson resigns with the team, building a roster with talented, versatile guards is a good problem to have. Maxey would give the team flexibility with future financial decisions if he was available in the draft.
While the three-point shooting is a concern, there’s a pretty widespread belief that he’s a better shooter than he showed in college. Remember Mitchell shot just 25 percent on deep balls as a freshman at Louisville but now connects at a respectable 36 percent from three.
In an ideal world, the Jazz would find a 6’5 guard to pair with Mitchell for the next half-decade, and Maxey doesn’t offer that. However, there aren’t many guards with his upside that have the potential to slip in the draft like Maxey does his talent would be too hard to pass on.
Maxey’s love for throwing the lob didn’t always pan out in college but would make him an ideal guard playing alongside Rudy Gobert.
I have serious doubts that Maxey will be on the board by the time the Jazz are on the clock, but several mocks continue to place the talented freshman later in the first round than I would anticipate.
Additional Prospect Breakdowns:
Utah Jazz Scoreboard
Utah Jazz Team Leaders
Utah Jazz Standings