Scouting Atlanta Hawks NBA Draft Prospect Tyrese Maxey.
Continuing our Atlanta Hawks prospect profile series by taking a look at Kentucky freshman Tyrese Maxey. The combo guard is projected to go in the late lottery or just outside of it, with Maxey still having a high upside despite a mediocre collegiate season.
Getting to the rim
Maxey has a great first step out of triple threat, especially when moving to the right. Once past the initial defender, he cuts through help defense like a hot knife. Maxey shows his tremendous athleticism on nearly every inside shot attempt, leaping and gliding to get to the rim.
That ability to “fly” to and around the rim often gets opposing big men into foul trouble, with Maxey getting to the line 3.9 times per game as a freshman.
He’s even more dangerous in transition, consistently able to make defenders run in circles with a lethal hesitation move making him a very scary downhill guard.
Maxey plays bigger than his 6’3 frame around the rim, extending and contouring to finish even in heavy traffic, frequently by going off the top of the glass. His gliding ability also shows up in this regard, with Maxey looking like an acrobat on some attempts.
He has a deep bag of tricks when it comes to finishing including hop-steps, finger-rolls, reverses, and runners with a soft touch.
Maxey will likely never be a spectacular individual defender, but his IQ and feel of the game should keep him from being a true negative on that end. He’s surprisingly physical at times and rotated well on the perimeter.
Lacking any real ability to run an offense, teams will be hesitant to draft a 6’3 player to play the shooting guard position. He used a lot of pick & rolls in college but mostly to drive rather than finding the roll guy. Maxey averaged nearly averaged the same amount of turnovers (2.2) per game as he did assists (3.2).
Maxey was the near-definition of a streaky shooter in college, sometimes going games without hitting a three then making multiple in the next. He took 3.6 attempts per game from there, making less than 30 percent on the year.
Per Synergy, Maxey made just 23 percent of his catch-and-shoot opportunities, which is just unacceptable for someone who’s going to bring the ball up the court less at the next level. His elite free throw percentage of 83 percent suggests there’s room for improvement, but it could take a few years.
We mentioned his frame a few times already, but it’s definitely something that keeps his value down. His 6’6 wingspan helps offset this a bit, but he’ll still be a frequent target of switches at the next level, especially if the team that drafts him already plays another undersized guard like Trae Young or Mike Conley.
Fit at the next level
The speed, size and inside scoring potential makes him comparable to fellow Kentucky alum De’Aaron Fox. Maxey is nowhere near the ball-handler that Fox was coming out of college, however, and has to improve on his ability to move the ball on offense.
For now, he’s a true slasher that excels in transition and can hit the occasional three. He’s not the greatest fit in the modern NBA but is the type of raw talent teams in the mid-first-round can afford to take a chance on.
Should the Atlanta Hawks draft Tyrese Maxey?