Friday, June 5, 2009

NBA Draft Prospects: Eric Maynor, VCU

Stats: 22.4 ppg, 6.2 apg, 1.7 spg, 46.3% FG, 36.1% 3PT, 81.5% FT, 3.0 t/o's

Listed Size: 6'2", 175 lb, 6/11/1987 (22 years old)

(photo credit: CNN SI)

About Him: Unlike other point guards in this year's draft class, Eric Maynor doesn't have one particular skill or ability that puts him on the NBA radar. He doesn't have Steph Curry's jumper; or Jonny Flynn's athleticism; or Ty Lawson's speed. What separates Maynor from other point guards is that he is probably the best "true" point guard available this year.

Now, I am not a huge fan of using vague, cliche terms like "best true point guard", but it is the best way to describe Maynor. The kid is just a smart, fundamentally sound player that truly understands how to run a team. I'm going cliche again, but Maynor is an extension of the coach on the floor. And it isn't his scoring or playmaking ability I'm referring to (I'll get into that in a second), it is his leadership and decision making. Little things like breaking off a play the coach has called because he saw Larry Sanders get a good seal in the post or saw the help side defense turn their backs, meaning he could get to the rim. Or during the UCLA game, when he recognized quickly that the Bruins were collapsing on him and Sanders when he penetrated, and instead of forcing the issue, kicking the ball out to open perimeter shooters.

Offensively, Maynor understands and plays within his physical limitations, as he is not the best athlete at his position. But, as I mentioned before, Maynor plays with a very high IQ and is sound fundamentally. He is a great ballhandler, and can penetrate equally with either hand. He doesn't have an over-powering first-step, but he makes up for that with a great combination of hesitation moves and the ability to change speeds. He is not going to dunk on you when he gets to the basket, but his vast array of floaters, leaners, and pull-ups allows him to be an excellent finisher.

As a shooter, Maynor is still improving, as his poor jumper was the major reason he wasn't recruited by bigger schools in high school. He did shoot 36% from deep this year, while taking more than five per game, but his strength is in the mid-range game. He is excellent at hitting pull-ups, even with a hand in his face (see the Duke game winner as evidence).

Perhaps his most impressive stat offensively was his efficiency. For a guard that is not a great shooter that was relied on for offense as heavily as Maynor was, he put up impressive numbers. He averaged 21.2 possessions used per game (third among guard prospects), while posting a very respectable .99 PPP (points per possession). He also had a better than 2:1 a:to ratio.

Defensively is where the worry comes with Maynor. He is not a great athlete, gambled way too often for steals, and genuinely looked disinterested on this end of the court. For a guy without great defensive tools, will he be motivated enough to defend NBA point guards?

Comparisons: Best Case: Sam Cassell in his prime; Worst Case: Sam Cassell with the Celtics.

Bottom Line: Maynor is not a guy with a high ceiling. His jumper and defense can improve a bit, but essentially you know what you are getting with him. He is a guy that is a true point guard, can run a system, is a smart player that makes good decisions with the ball, and has already proven the ability to makes plays in the clutch. I see him having a solid career as a back-up and spot starter. I've seen some mock drafts that have Maynor sneaking into the back of the lottery, but he is still probably the fourth or fifth point guard on most draft boards.


1 comment:

Kyle said...

worst case scenario is sam i am on the celts? sounds like a cant miss prospect to me