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Jason Maxiell, still useful

I’ve mentioned a few times that, by far, Detroit’s most surprising player this season has been Jason Maxiell, who finally got back in good shape and has shook off two seasons of seeming decline to once again become a viable rotation player. Rob Mahoney of Bleacher Report’s Court Vision blog noticed as well:

There was a time in the not-so-distant past when Detroit’s Jason Maxiell looked like a player on the rise. It may have been a bit presumptuous to think that he had the gleam of stardom in his bursts of scoring and rebounding in limited minutes, but there’s little question that Maxiell looked ready to stretch his legs in a larger role.

That role came, but the success very much didn’t; despite the fact that the Pistons have been hurting for quality interior players over the last several seasons, Maxiell could never prove his value beyond 20 minutes a night. The buzz quieted, the ferocious dunks became a bit more infrequent and Maxiell was all but forgotten on a Pistons team with much greater troubles.

Yet even without making any leaps or jumps into particular relevancy, Maxiell still manages to remind us how useful he could be in the right context. In a Tuesday night game against the Orlando Magic, Maxiell was every bit as potent as the Pistons could have reasonably asked him to be. He still played a mere 24 minutes of game action, but within that relatively small sample he brought highly efficient scoring and competitive rebounding, increasing his totals to 15 points and seven boards in no-time flat.

Maxiell isn’t likely to be all that much more productive than he is today, but in an appropriate role he could be a valuable contributor. He’ll likely be a team’s energetic fourth big, but his success from this point on will be guided almost solely by appropriate expectations.

Glad to see Maxiell’s solid season getting noticed outside of Detroit.

Also, a plug for Court Vision. I know some negative perceptions exist about Bleacher Report, but they really have a good team of established writers — Mahoney (ESPN, New York Times, etc.), Holly MacKenzie (SLAM, Basketball Jones), Ethan Sherwood Strauss (ESPN) and Bethlehem Shoals (FreeDarko, GQ, everywhere) — running that blog. They’ve produced some really interesting NBA stuff over the last few weeks. It’s worth a bookmark or subscribing to their RSS feed or whatever it is that kids are doing to follow websites these days.

3 Comments

  • Apr 5, 20122:02 pm
    by Jacob

    Reply

    He’s definitely the biggest surprise to me this season. It’s not often that a guy in his 7th year who looked like he had peaked years ago, is pointed out as having a bad contract, suddenly becomes relevant again. He looks like he lost weight in the offseason and got a reliable jumper. Always known as a hustle/energy guy he has upped that and become consistent at it. Perhaps most importantly, he actually earned that starting position, whereas in years past it seemed like he started just to mix things up and experiment. That’s why I’ve liked L. Frank – it’s clear guys are earning PT. Maxy’s play even moved JJ to the bench and by and large fans haven’t complained about that because Max earned it and has proven he deserves to be starting. I like JJ coming off the bench anyway, although I wish we could see him playing more 3. I know it’s a minor controversy that CV isn’t playing right now, but this rotation has earned it. Outside of the 1st 3rd of the season, I think this team has done more with less than any other lottery bound team.

  • Apr 5, 20123:59 pm
    by steve battle creek, mi

    Reply

    Its a contract year for max.  He can opt out this year and get a mulit year deal(security).   This is good for detroit as his salary will come off the books.  Amnesty CV and pistons will have some decent cap space. 

  • Apr 5, 20126:20 pm
    by MrBlockedShot

    Reply

    Keeping in mind that we are going to add a pf/c to the roster and bring Macklin back I would not miss him most likely. Add Jerebko to that frontcourt and his role would be very limited in the future. His best option is to keep up playing that good and opt out next year for a better contract, maybe 3 years for a team with playoff chances. Amnesting CV and having Wallace retired won’t make things easier for him either in terms of minutes (as both have very limited or inexistent roles) but both are good moves for us imho.

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