By LARRY VAUGHT
The NBA Draft will be November 18 at ESPN in Bristol, Conn., with teams making virtual selections as another concession to COVID-19. But that doesn’t mean there will not be a Kentucky player hearing his name called in the lottery again.
Krysten Peek, who covers basketball for Yahoo Sports and Rivals, recently released her mock draft and has guard Tyrese Maxey going to Phoenix with the 10th pick overall.
Peek said she based her projection in part on how well Maxey would fit with former UK player Devin Booker, one of the NBA’s rising stars.
“I think they would just have instant chemistry,” Peek said. “I think it would be a great fit for them both. Phoenix does not necessarily have an area of need, so it just seems like Booker could really benefit by having Maxey as his point guard.”
Peek admits it was a “little bit of her heart, little bit of her head” that helped lead to the projection.
“Tyrese had a great pro day on ESPN,” Peek said. “He showed he had a stronger frame and had improved his jump shot. There was no way he was doing poorly in interviews (with NBA teams). He’s a great kid who genuinely loves basketball.”
She remembers on Maxey’s birthday when he posted on social media that he was in the gym at 5 a.m. and said there was no place he would rather be even that early.
“Not a lot of kids have that drive and pure love for the game that he does,” Peek said.
But get this. Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report has Maxey as the eighth best prospect in the draft.
“Disappointing percentages haven’t scared me from keeping Tyrese Maxey in the top 10. I’m buying his shot-making, floater touch, coordinated finishing, pick-and-roll play and tough defense,” Wasserman wrote. “While I am skeptical about his potential to morph into a lead point guard and primary playmaker, translatable scoring skills and defense are his selling points.”
Selling points that Peek likes as well and my guess is that a lot of NBA teams are deciding the same thing.