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The Big Answer?: Jason Maxiell

DF then: Can he really be a reliable backup center?

At just 6-foot-7, Jason Maxiell was the Pistons’ most reliable backup center last year. Maxiell hadn’t held a defined role in years, but when pressed into a set spot, even one that doesn’t appear to naturally suit him, he thrived. Did the Pistons stumble onto something? Do Maxiell’s long arms, strong lower body and impressive hops negate his height mismatch against backup fives? If so, Greg Monroe might not be pressed into duty right away.

DF now: I don’t know

Although Maxiell played about half his minutes at center this season, he still played just 930 total – the fewest since his rookie year. And the most regular minutes he received came when he started at power forward early in the season. The Pistons never really committed to him as a backup center.

Using lineup data from BasketballValue, Maxiell played 52 percent of his minutes without Greg Monroe or Ben Wallace on the court and 50 percent without either those two or Chris Wilcox, who sometimes played the five with Maxiell at the four. 82games has Maxiell playing about 45 percent of his minutes at power forward.

But in that limited time, the results were encouraging. His net PER at center was –5.7, as opposed to –17.6 at power forward, according to 82games. His offensive rating without Wallace and Monroe on the floor was 108 and otherwise, 104. His defensive rating remained 113.

I wouldn’t call this a large enough sample size to prove anything, but I’d still like to see Maxiell’s primary position next season – whether it’s second- or third-string – become center.

PH then: Have the Pistons finally figured out how to use him?

Maxiell has had an up and down career with the Pistons. He’s been in and out of the rotation. At times, he’s played well and hasn’t been rewarded with more minutes. At times, he’s played poorly and been left in the game. Last year, he was given his first extended opportunity to start, with mixed results. What we know is this: Maxiell is no worse than the Pistons third best big man (not counting Jerebko) and, if healthy, will be a rotation player all season.

PH now: No

Maxiell was a no-show in the rotation most of the season. Consequently, when he did play, he often looked out of shape from not seeing game action this season. It has been a couple years now since Maxiell was a productive, consistent member of the rotation. I really have no idea where he’s at as far as being able to play a role on this or any team. His production has declined for three straight seasons.

6 Comments

  • May 3, 20111:00 pm
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    my argument is simple – do not draft or sign undersized players at any position on the floor except possibly point guard and even there it is a mistake.
    Max is not a useful piece going forward and the Pistons should do all they can to trade him.

    • May 3, 20113:48 pm
      by Tim

      Reply

      That is a terrible argument. Being undersized is obviously a downside in any player. But size is only one of many important qualities in a player–and far from the most important. You might as well say never sign any player who does not have a great touch with his off-hand. It would be a nice quality to have, but not essential. For an example of great play from a seriously undersized player, see Chuck Hayes. Or from slightly undersized players, see Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, Andre Iguodala, Gerald Wallace, and Al Horford. That’s a hell of a lineup, and all of them are smaller than most players who start at their positions.

      • May 3, 20114:20 pm
        by Patrick Hayes

        Reply

        Paul Milsap and Al Jefferson are both undersized and good too, as is Carlos Boozer.

        • May 3, 20115:28 pm
          by Tim

          Reply

          Only if you are only going just on height. But I guess detroitpcb probably was because Maxiell is almost as big as Dwight Howard, just considerably shorter. I hadn’t really noticed that earlier, so with the exception of Wade, the players I listed are fairly skinny as well as a little shorter than normal.

    • May 3, 20113:51 pm
      by Tim

      Reply

      But I do agree that Maxiell is not very useful to the Pistons (kinda like 80% of their roster). They have way too many mediocre players. And Maxiell has about the least upside of any of them. But he will have some value maybe as an expiring deal.

  • May 4, 20114:39 pm
    by Dave

    Reply

    uhhhh tim? iguodala is a 6-6 SG/SF = not undersized, gerald wallace is 6-7 and is long and athletic = not undersized (one of the best defensive SF in the game), al horford is 6-10 = not undersized for his natural position which is PF. d wade is on the fence at 6-4 (more like 6-3) but most of the guys he plays against are skinnier and less physical (ben gordon, ray allen, joe johnson…) i.e. i don’t see d wade being overmatched by a lot of 2 guards…looks like your argument is pretty terrible too… look at the gametape buddy
    and patrick hayes, jefferson is a 6-10 PF that plays like a SF most of time: i wouldn’t call that undersized.  Boozer might only be 6-9 but he is also 6-9 wide and a strong as an ox = i wouldn’t call him undersized for a PF.  paul milsap: see below.
    i agree with detroitpcb, you don’t draft undersized players unless they are a standout like chris paul (i’ll even give you d wade – if paul milsap is part of your argument then i think that speaks for itself….coughWEAKcough).  you can make guys better shooters, better at rebounding, better defenders, but you can’t make them taller.
    chuck hayes is what jason maxiell should have been.  max is garbage because he is short and cant jump.  he is a decent post defender because he uses his leverage (beer gut) to keep guys uneasy down low.  he has no offensive game except to hope a rebound falls in his lap.  annnnd the dude is FAT (for the record, i dont have anything against overweight people unless they get paid millions of dollars to be an ATHLETE.  i dont see a whole lot of other guys as big and as short as j max…).  hated it when they picked him in the draft, hated it even more when they re-signed him to that absurd contract

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