Tyrese Maxey

Potential Lottery Pick Tyrese Maxey Declares For Draft

Kentucky guard Tyrese Maxey has declared for the NBA draft, per ESPN’s Malika Andrews. The freshman joins fellow Wildcats guard Ashton Hagans, who has also entered the 2020 draft class. Maxey tells Evan Daniels of 247Sports.com that he intends to forgo his remaining eligibility and keep his name in the draft.

“I felt like now that I’ve gone through the process of college and played for a great coach (John Calipari) and I feel like he has prepared me to declare the Draft and move on to the next level,” Maxey said to Daniels.

Maxey was Kentucky’s third-leading scorer in 2019/20, averaging 14.0 PPG in 31 games (34.5 MPG), to go along with 4.3 RPG and 3.2 APG. He recorded a shooting line of .427/.292/.833.

ESPN has Maxey ranked eighth overall on its big board, projecting him to be a versatile two-way combo guard at the NBA level. According to Jonathan Givony, Maxey is an “instinctive scorer who excels in transition” and is very physical defensively, though his shot selection and decision-makers are considered “works in progress.”

Knicks To Target Scoring Point Guard In 2020 Draft?

With the Knicks‘ playoff chances for 2019/20 essentially dead, the team has its eye on the 2020 draft class. And according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, the Knicks’ scouting staff has been informed that the top priority for the club’s lottery pick is a scoring point guard.

Despite using their 2017 lottery selection on Frank Ntilikina and acquiring former top-10 picks such as Elfrid Payton and Dennis Smith Jr., the Knicks have been unable to secure a long-term answer at the point guard spot in recent years. It remains to be seen whether New York will find its answer in this year’s draft, but there should be some options, especially if the team remains in position to pick in the top half of the lottery.

Berman singles out LaMelo Ball as one possible target, noting that Leon Rose was expected to be Ball’s agent at CAA before Rose agreed to become the Knicks’ next president of basketball operations. Cole Anthony (UNC), Tyrese Haliburton (Iowa State), Tyrese Maxey (Kentucky), and Killian Hayes (France) are other young guards who figure to be on the Knicks’ radar on draft day, says Berman. All those players are projected to come off the board between No. 4 (Ball) and No. 12 (Hayes) in ESPN’s latest mock draft (Insider link).

With the Knicks’ front office in a transition period, it can be tricky to know what to make of reports like these, since it’s unclear whether they reflect the preferences of interim head of basketball operations Scott Perry or incoming head of basketball operations Rose.

However, Berman writes that the Knicks’ aggressive pursuit of D’Angelo Russell at this month’s trade deadline was under Rose’s “consultation,” which suggests the veteran agent has had a voice in the front office even before he finishes tying up loose ends at CAA and officially joins the franchise. Russell, of course, would have perfectly fit the description of a scoring point guard.

According to Berman, the Knicks’ other priority in the draft will be a swingman with three-point range, something that RJ Barrett (.318 3PT%) hasn’t yet shown. Berman notes that New York could use the Clippers’ first-round pick to target that sort of player.

And-Ones: Maxey, Hampton, Cunningham, Vasquez

With the NCAA season getting underway this week, Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz of ESPN (Insider link) are providing some early scouting reports on top prospects for the 2020 draft, writing that Kentucky’s Tyrese Maxey “stole the show” and looked like a potential top-10 pick in a win over Michigan State on Tuesday.

While Givony and Schmitz are keeping a close eye on several top NCAA prospects, R.J. Hampton – another projected top-10 pick for 2020 – is halfway around the world, playing for the New Zealand Breakers in Australia’s National Basketball League. In a fascinating feature for The Athletic, Dana O’Neil takes a look at how Hampton has adjusted to playing professional ball.

Although Hampton doesn’t necessarily regret choosing to spend the year in Auckland, he admits that it’s “a little weird” watching the NCAA season tip off this week. “I can envision myself in a Kansas jersey,” Hampton told O’Neil, referencing a Jayhawks team whose roster features his best friend Jalen Wilson.

Meanwhile, the top prospect for the 2021 draft class will be remaining stateside rather than following in Hampton’s footsteps by heading overseas. As Givony relays (via Twitter), 6’7″ point guard Cade Cunningham announced this week that he has committed to Oklahoma State for his freshman year in 2020/21. Cunningham claimed the No. 1 spot in ESPN’s very-early mock draft for ’21.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • As part of the NBA’s attempted crackdown on tampering, the league has prohibited team personnel from using apps that auto-delete relevant communication, per Pete Thamel, Seerat Sohi, and Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports. As Dan Feldman of NBC Sports observes, it’s hard to see how the NBA will be able to enforce such a rule.
  • Former NBA point guard Greivis Vasquez is taking a leave of absence from his job as the associate head coach of the Erie BayHawks, the Pelicans‘ G League affiliate, the team announced today in a press release. “After taking some time to consider what is best for the team and my health, I have decided to step away from coaching to focus on rehabbing my ankle,” Vasquez said in a statement.
  • In the wake of the NBA/China controversy that dominated headlines during the preseason, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts tells Ben Tolliver of The Washington Post that the union hasn’t done enough to help educate players on international issues. With the NBA frequently making trips to countries like China, India, and others, Roberts wants to help raise players’ awareness on those issues.
  • Tom Ziller of SB Nation argues that head coaching jobs are more stable now than they have been in past years, generally speaking. As Ziller writes, the average tenure for an NBA coach right now is 3.7 years, which is the highest mark in at least a decade.