This Year’s Eric Maynor : TAI Wizards Player Previews 2013-14
[Truth About It.net player previews of Washington Wizards in 2013-14 — For each player on this year’s roster of 15, we take a look at what’s at stake, an interesting statistic, and finally, where that player needs to improve (or excel) to make successful contributions toward a playoff goal.]
Eric Maynor via Conor Dirks; Garrett Temple via Adam McGinnis;
Otto Porter via Adam Rubin; Glen Rice, Jr. via Rashad Mobley;
Trevor Ariza via John C. Townsend; Trevor Booker via Adam Rubin;
Al Harrington via Kyle Weidie; Chris Singleton via Adam McGinnis;
Kevin Seraphin via Sean Fagan; Martell Webster via John C. Townsend;
Jan Vesely via Kyle Weidie & Lukas Kuba; Nene Hilario via Rashad Mobley;
Emeka Okafor via Sean Fagan;
Bradley Beal via Kyle Weidie; John Wall via Conor Dirks.
WHAT’S AT STAKE.
Eric Demarqua Maynor is a brand-new Wizard. He showed up on the national hoops radar as a college sophomore when he hit the game-winning shot against Duke in VCU’s first-round win during the 2007 March Madness tournament. After being drafted by Utah and later traded to Oklahoma City, Maynor served as Oklahoma City’s backup to Russell Westbrook until he tore his ACL in January 2012. Although Maynor returned the next season, he found himself falling behind Reggie Jackson in Oklahoma City’s rotation during the 2012-13 campaign, and he was traded to Portland to back up rookie point guard Damian Lillard. With Portland, Maynor’s minutes doubled, his field goal percentage rose
more than 10 percent (from 31.3 percent to 42.2 percent), and his 3-point shooting improved as well.
The Wizards must have noticed, and Maynor represents Washington’s by-now annual attempt to find an impact backup to John Wall. With Kirk Hinrich, Shelvin Mack, A.J. Price and Jannero Pargo in Washington’s rear-view mirror as they speed along Interstate JW2, the stakes are pretty clear: Ernie Grunfeld is searching for a third guard like Warren Zevon was searching for a heart.
There’s an autumn leaf-heap of ways that Maynor could improve a thin second unit for Washington, and even a few ways he could alter first-team lineups if he’s able to provide positive play. In Portland, Maynor’s ball handling ability alongside Damian Lillard allowed Lillard to play off the ball in half-court sets, and to run the wing in transition. If the drafting of Jan Vesely has taught us anything, it’s that Grunfeld’s (tunnel) vision about building a goliath transition team can’t be understated, even if it can be questioned.
Here’s a clip of Maynor, in the game with Lillard, allowing the star point guard to sprint down the floor for quick offense while Maynor handles the ball, because #QuickAintFair, right?
While Maynor will be expected to serve as Wall’s primary backup during the 2012-13 season, it was interesting to discover that the Trail Blazers used Maynor, more often than not, as an off-guard, playing alongside Lillard rather than as a pure backup. Lillard was also a part of the top four lineups of which Maynor was a part in terms of minutes played last season with Portland. Despite the small sample size, Portland’s most utilized lineup featuring Maynor (alongside Damian Lillard, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Meyers Leonard) seemed to show superiority over opposing lineups in the areas you’d most expect to benefit from the presence of two point guards (per 100 possessions):
- +5.9 field goals made
- +.094 in field goal percentage
- +10.2 3-point field goals made
- +3.5 assists
- +31.5 points
Contrast that with Maynor’s most-played lineup in Oklahoma City (alongside Kevin Martin, Kevin Durant, Nick Collison, and Hasheem Thabeet) before the trade, and you can see where some might be concerned about Maynor’s suitability for running Washington’s second unit (which unfortunately does not include Kevin Durant):
- -2.8 field goals made
- +.004 in field goal percentage
- +0.1 3-point field goals made
- -3.0 assists
- -3.0 points
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT.
This preseason, Maynor has made a habit of turning his back to the offense while bringing the ball up the court, even falling victim to a rare eight-second call in one game. Washington needs him to use his ability to play at different speeds. Maynor, unlike Wall, needs to tune his play toward the top 40 pop station rather than toward the orthodontist’s office soft rock favorites.
On Media Day, Maynor said that one of the things he provides is a change of pace from the up-and-down, full-throttle Wall. Maynor admitted at Media Day that he didn’t play “explosive” like Wall and Westbrook, and that he preferred to slow down the offense and find great shots. Well, that’s fine and all, but Maynor’s going to have to get the ball onto the offensive side of the court in enough time to set up that “great shot.” Washington’s identity is speed, and Maynor may have to go corporate here and kowtow to the team’s offensive modus operandi.
Another disturbing aspect of Maynor’s game is that he has never, since he entered the NBA, posted an offensive rating (points produced per 100 possessions) that was higher than his defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions). Last season, in a seemingly positive role with Portland, the disparity between these two ratings was alarming: an ORtg of 100 compared to a DRtg of 114.
While Maynor has been disappointing in the preseason, he has slightly outplayed Garrett Temple. But is he an upgrade over A.J. Price? I’m not so sure. Over at First Draft, Kevin Broom summed it up well:
“Last season, A.J. Price was better. Per 36 minutes, Maynor generated exactly one assist more than Price. But, Price shot better from the floor and the free throw line, got nearly twice as many rebounds, and had 1.2 fewer turnovers per 36 minutes.”
BONUS: Media Day Interview
On Media Day, I participated in a question-and-answer session with Maynor, who was one of the first players to come out and speak to the media. His answers to some of the questions are below:
On what he brings to the Wizards:
“Solid guy coming off the bench, try to do anything to help my team win.”
On potential All-Star berths for John Wall and Bradley Beal:
“Absolutely. Both guys work so hard and have great talent.”
“The first day of training camp is tomorrow. We’ve gotta go one day at a time. You could ask me that at mid-season.”
On whether he could have gone to a better team:
“Absolutely, but we all start out 0-0, and the Wizards ended the season great last year.”
On playing alongside John Wall instead of behind him?
“Been doing it with Russ Westbrook, did it with Dame Lillard, did it with Deron Williams in Utah. I’m excited. John’s just the same talent as those guys, so I’m excited. I’m looking forward to it.”
On what impressed him about the Wizards in the offseason:
“I’m trying to be a part of something special, and I saw that with the guys they got.”
On similarities between Wall and Westbrook:
“I’m trying to figure out who’s faster. They’re both so fast it’s crazy.
On Wall’s shot:
“He’s a hard-working guy, and he’s working on it.”
On coming back to the East Coast:
“It was a factor, I’ve been on the West Coast and OKC, now my family is close and they can come up and watch games. I feel more comfortable.”
On who he spent the most time with this summer:
“Me, Bradley, John, guys at each other’s house, Glen, just guys at each other’s house playing video games.”
On what his favorite game is:
On whether he plays with the Wizards in 2k…
“No, in 2k I play with the Heat. No offense.”
On ACL injuries:
“I’m just telling Russ to take his time. D-Rose did the right thing. Guys like that that’s explosive like that… I’m not an explosive guy playing fast like the way they play. Take your time and come back when you’re ready.”
On how he will improve the Wizards:
“Leadership, get teammates open shots. Run the offense, compete at high level. Toughness, smarts.”
On the change of pace he provides:
“This was ongoing for three years. Russ, like John Wall, is fast. I’ve gotta slow it up, get great shots, that’s why I think we’re going to be good together. I’m going to be the facilitator.”