What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): The lightning quickness in the lane jumps out when watching video on Maxey. His slender frame and ball handling abilities allows him to get to places that other guards can’t get to on the floor. Uses screens to get open off the ball (1st half, Michigan State ‘18). Big game player. In games versus top-ranked Michigan State and the third-ranked Louisville Cardinals this past season, Maxey had his two best scoring games against those opponents (26 and 27 points respectively). Despite a subpar shooting percentage from beyond the arc during his freshman season, Maxey does show NBA range and strong shooting mechanics (83% free throw percentage). The Kentucky guard is listed at 6’3″ but isn’t incredibly long despite being a willing rebounder (4.3 per game).
Weaknesses: Size and position fit are the major question marks with Maxey. Can he guard opposing shooting guards at the next level? If he is asked to play point guard full time, he will have to improve his 3:2 turnover/assist ratio. Evidenced by his shooting numbers, Maxey settles from time-to-time and would be better served tweaking his shot selection.
Attended South Garland High School (Tx.). He was rated as a top 15 recruit by ESPN, Rivals and 247 Sports.
Father, Tyrone, played basketball at Washington State and previously served as the Director of Player Development at Southern Methodist University.
Was named Texas Mr. Basketball in 2019 and played in the McDonald’s All-American game, Jordan Brand Classic and Nike Hoop Summit.
Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): When it was crunch time, Kentucky head coach John Calipari entrusted Maxey to make plays. Scouts will rave about his late game heroics but how will he hold up defensively at the next level? We believe Maxey would enjoy the most success if paired with a taller guard like Dallas’ Luka Doncic or Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons. Look for the Kentucky guard to start his career as a spark plug off the bench, who can get opposing guards in foul trouble. At 6-foot-3, can Maxey play the shooting guard position? Teams will question his ability to play the point guard spot, but he showed himself well at the position during his final regular season game against Florida (at that position). In that contest, Maxey finished with seven assists and just one turnover.
What makes this player NASTY….(Strengths): Athletic bloodlines. High basketball IQ. Floor speed. Ball-handling. Pushes the basketball end-to-end. On-court vision. Excellent passer. Creates easy transition opportunities for teammates. Makes deft overhead passes to cutters going to the basket. Able to find cutters with dime chest passes in half-court sets (Florida ’16). Sets up the screener when the team runs its two-man game at the top of the key. Excellent rebounder on both ends of the floor. Times offensive rebounds and puts it back on the floor straight off the bounce. Led the NCAA in double-doubles as a freshman. Lengthy arms correct plenty of his mistakes on defensive end of the floor. He will be able to operate versus guards on the switch as he moves up to the NBA (vs. Ulis, Kentucky ’16). He’s shown enough physicality to use his standing reach and will absorb the contact vs. low post scoring threats near the block (Lee, Kentucky ’16). When backing down defenders on the right block, he’ll use subtle pump fakes to get them off their feet (Poythress, Kentucky ’15); and he has soft touch on his fallaway jumper from 8-to-10 feet facing the basket. When backing down opponents, he uses his right elbow to propel himself off of one leg going left and will hang in the air with the floater facing the rim. Pivots and spins against pressure with an ease of movement that belies his age. Uses his off-hand (right) well to finish at the hoop. Left-handed dribbler who can finish in the paint versus the trees. Hand-eye coordination is solid when catching alley-oops from mid-court or even just inside the half-court line. As he attacks defenders moving forward he will use crossover (COD) dribbles to move them off their spots. Did a fine job of attacking Marquette’s Henry Ellenson off the dribble and then used his running right-handed floater over the top of him. Contains the ability to split double teams and can finish at the cup (South Alabama ’15).
Weaknesses: Does not shoot the basketball well from depth. Can he extend an NBA defense? Teams gave him an opportunity all season long to show that he could hit the open three-pointer and he turned it down (Marquette ’15). Passivity displayed itself at times in the Oklahoma game when he would defer quite a bit until a run late in the game. Didn’t put the nail in the coffin when the team had a big second half lead. Reluctant three-point shooter (attempted three 3-point shots all season). Took repetitions off on the defensive end in school. Fails to slide his feet consistently with knee bend (Kentucky ’16). Six games with six or more turnovers. Fouled out of four games as a freshman and had four or more fouls in 12 games. Disappeared for games on the offensive end (NC State ’15, Texas A&M ’16).
Dad, Dave, played professional basketball in Europe and Australia and wore the same number as Ben (No. 25)
Simmons played the forward position in Rugby while growing up
Went on to attend Montverde Academy (Fla.) and won three national championships while there
Godfather, David Patrick, was an assistant coach at LSU
Brother, Liam, is an assistant coach at Southwest Baptist College (Mo.)
43 points, 14 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 blocked shots and 5 steals vs. North Florida on 12/2/15
21 points (9-of-11 FT), 20 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, and 3 TOs vs. Marquette in 2015
36 points, 14 rebounds and 4 assists vs. Vanderbilt on 1/2/16
22 points, 14 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals vs. Missouri on 3/1/16
22 double-doubles in 2015-16 to lead the nation
2015-16 (USA Today National Freshman of the Year, 1st Team All-SEC, Sporting News National Freshman of the Year, SEC Freshman of the Year): 34.9 MPG, 19.2 PPG, 56% FG, 33.3% 3-PT, 67% FT, 11.8 RPG, 4.8 APG, 2 SPG, 3.4 TPG
Time to get NASTY….(Our Summary): He could become the first number one overall pick to not play in the NCAA Tournament since Mychal Thompson (1978-Portland Trail Blazers). With that said, the competitiveness factor should not be considered because the team didn’t make the tournament or due to his decision not to workout at the NBA combine. The most concerning part of his game may be between the ears. Simmons has not been shy about telling his team that: 1) he wouldn’t play in the NIT, and 2) that he wasn’t available to workout for certain NBA teams. For a player who didn’t always assert himself during school, there are questions left for NBA teams regardless of his unique combination of ball-handling, court vision and rebounding skill.