A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

The sneaky high talent and upside of Eric Maynor

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Eric Maynor

Eric Maynor (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

I like using my talent evaluation system to measure developing players in the NBA, as much as draft prospects. Which available player has the potential to be a steal?

One guy I really like is Eric Maynor. Conventional wisdom says Maynor’s lack of results as a nearly 26 year old backup point guard in his 4th season, makes him a surefire long term backup. But did you know because of only playing 9 Gs his 3rd season and otherwise limited minutes, Maynor has only played 3511 minutes so far, regular season and playoff combined? 2nd year PGs Brandon Knight and Kemba Walker have 4090 and 4070 minutes so far, while Kyrie Irving even with all his injuries, is sitting at 3279. Maynor has the minutes played of most 2nd year lottery picks. I tend to believe 6000-8000 minutes is a good benchmark for when a player hits “he is what he is” range in all likelihood. For example before this season, other 2009 picks Jrue Holiday had 7546 minutes played, while Stephen Curry had 6117 before taking their games to another level. Darren Collison, widely seen as a doppelganger for Maynor’s career, is at 8633 minutes now, 6698 before this season – way more than Maynor. If one connects minutes as the biggest indicator of development, Maynor’s is well within range to make breaking out and taking his game to another level, plausible.

Here is my breakdown of Maynor:

His standout trait for talent, is his feel for the game. Maynor is a tremendously smooth player as if he’s playing on water, always under control and aware of teammates – playing the “game manager” role he’s been known for since VCU. Maynor’s feel for the game is exceptional.

Maynor is a respectable outside shooter, hitting .348 from 3 for his career, at a rate of 1.2 3PM/3.3 3PA per 36 minutes for his career. He shows deep outside range which is an encouraging sign. Because of his great ballhandler, Maynor is also quite strong at creating his own perimeter jumpshot from midrange. He also is a skilled finisher with a great floater. Maynor hasn’t been a dynamic threat shooting from the perimeter and only a .746 from the FT line for his career is middling, so I wouldn’t give him an elite grade here as a skill impact talent, but average to solid seems warranted.

What most would consider his weakness is physical tools and talent. True, he’s not a breathtaking athlete and while having solid height at 6’3, doesn’t have a huge frame. But his first step is solid and more importantly, his elite ballhandling helps him get by opponents and drive into the paint. He has respectable ability to slash and create points attacking the paint.

Here is some videos showing evidence of these talents:

First off, throughout these videos his feel for the game is easy to spot and obvious. He’s smooth, under control, able to adjust and finding teammates well. Now a breakdown of his physical impact and skill impact plays:

At 0:04 he shows the quickness to get in the paint and the skill to score with a floater.

At 0:08 he once again drives into the paint and finds an open man, after the defense rotates.

At 0:41 and 1:15 he scores 3pters, with excellent looking form on his shot and deep range.

At 0:50 he once again shows how he has the speed and ballhandling to slashing, driving past an opponent and drawing a foul

At 0:02, he uses his speed, ballhandling and finishing skill to drive to the paint and score

At 0:23 he uses his ballhandling to cross-over and create a jumpshot off the dribble

At 0:48, 1:10, he once again scores 3s with deep range

At 1:02 he impressively drives into the paint and scores

At 1:36 he shows his speed catching a pass and driving to the rim

Wrapping up, my grades for Maynor are the following:

Maynor’s feel for the game is clearly exceptional, if one of the best in the league. He makes the game look “natural”, at an easy pace and under control. My grade for him in feel for the game talent is 9.

He shows a solid ability to create plays attacking the basket off the dribble, with reasonable speed but great ballhandling. He’s not a top flight athlete and could be stronger, but has enough for my grade for in physical impact talent to be 5 or 6.

His upside may depend on his skill impact. Although not an elite shooter from outside or the line yet, his form is terrific, he has deep range showing confidence in his shot and his ability to create jumpshots off the dribble looks great. I will give Maynor a grade of 5 or 6 in skill impact talent through by the time he’s played 10,000 minutes, it’s not inconceivable he hits a higher level than that.

My overall grade for Maynor is thus 19-21, which is a score worthy of a true “blue chip” PG and a player just below all-star status.

His talent reminds me a lot of Mike Conley, Jr., who has an exceptional feel for the game and enough slashing and perimeter scoring, to be a blue chip and championship caliber PG. I feel Conley, Jr. is more explosive athletically, but Maynor has an even better feel for the game and more upside as a shooter. It will be interesting to see if he lands with the right opportunities to prove himself a starting PG, or whether he’ll toil as a backup for some time longer in a spot with an established franchise PG like Portland. I believe Maynor is one of the more underrated young talents in the game and a team grabbing Maynor for cheap this summer would find considerable upside in it.

Written by jr.

March 17, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Posted in Basketball, NBA Draft

Tagged with ,

One Response

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  1. I was actually at this game against the Grizzlies, and I have to agree that Maynor passes the eye test in terms his feel for the game. On Blazers squad that is so lacking at the backup PG position, he shouldn’t have any problem getting meaningful minutes, but if he’s going to eventually make the leap, he’ll have to do it elsewhere as long as Damian Lillard is at the helm. In any case, it’ll be interesting to see how it pans out. Nice post.


    March 17, 2013 at 5:38 pm

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