Knicks Draft: Is Tyrese Maxey a good fit for New York?

New York Knicks option Tyrese Maxey #3 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates after a basket in the game against the Ole Miss Rebels at Rupp Arena on February 15, 2020 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
New York Knicks option Tyrese Maxey #3 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates after a basket in the game against the Ole Miss Rebels at Rupp Arena on February 15, 2020 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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The New York Knicks could take Kentucky guard Tyrese Maxey in the 2020 NBA Draft, and there are reasons to believe he could thrive in the Big Apple.


As the NBA Draft approaches, there doesn’t seem to be any consensus as to what the New York Knicks should do with their picks. Picking 8th overall is a tricky spot in any draft, but the shortened NCAA season has made the 2020 class particularly volatile.

The Knicks could go in a wide variety of directions with their lottery pick, and one name that has been floating around is Kentucky guard Tyrese Maxey.

The 19-year-old is one of the more interesting prospects in the draft. Maxey can best be described as a “combo guard,” but is more of a scorer than a primary distributor. On the surface, that may not be the type of player some Knicks fans want.

While some of the draft’s point guards are certainly in the running to be the Knicks’ pick, the Knicks are in no position to be drafting for positional need—they need everything.

What Could Maxey Bring to The Knicks?

Maxey is one of the best backcourt scorers in the draft. His quickness, ability to shoot off the dribble and elite finishing ability at the rim are all things you look for in an NBA guard.

His highlights show some refined NBA-level layup packages and ball handling, but it doesn’t mean he comes without question marks. The most common criticisms of Maxey are his 6-foot-3 height and 29.2 three-point field goal percentage.

These aren’t things to be ignored, but there are components to Maxey’s game that offer some hope that he can overcome them. While his long-range shooting wasn’t great, he shot free throws at an excellent 83.3 percent, usually a good indicator of improved distance shooting to come.

What Maxey lacks in height, he certainly makes up for in strength. He is frequently able to bully his way to the rim and absorb contact, especially for his size. His strength also comes in handy on defense, which doesn’t get talked about enough. Maxey is one of the best defenders in the draft, regardless of position.

Quick hips, bullish strength, and terrific instincts make the Dallas native an extraordinary perimeter defender. Even if he projects as a shooting guard in the NBA, Maxey has the potential to effectively guard opposing point guards. His potential on defense is legit.

Maxey’s versatility and scoring prowess would make him the Knicks probable starter at the 2, and it would likely slide RJ Barrett over to the 3. There are reasons to believe Barrett might find more success playing small forward as opposed to shooting guard.

Barrett struggles with faster guards and placing him at the 3 could take a lot of that pressure off.  Regardless of whom the Knicks’ starting point guard is next season, having both Maxey and Barrett as secondary ball handlers would create a lot of versatility on offense.

Both players are strong going to the rim and have flashed playmaking ability. An offense with multiple secondary ball handlers is something the Knicks did not have last season. It would interesting to see the lineups coach Tom Thibodeau could create with Maxey.

The most obvious connection to be made with Maxey to the Knicks is new Knicks’ assistant Kenny Payne, who coached the young guard last season at Kentucky. No NBA coach in the league has a better gauge on Maxey than Payne. Some around the NBA believe the Knicks could become a pipeline of Kentucky alums.

Next. 3 guard options with the 27th pick. dark

Tyrese Maxey has a more well-rounded game than he’s given credit for, and he is the type of player who would have an immediate impact for the Knicks. He could give New York some much-needed firepower in their backcourt and ultimately become a key piece of the team’s future.