Jacob Raim | WashingtonWizards.com
The Wizards have officially announced that they have signed former Portland Trail Blazer and Virginia Commonwealth University alum, Eric Maynor. It is presumed that Maynor will come in and back up John Wall at the point guard spot from day one, taking over the role that A.J. Price held last year. Maynor certainly has experience backing up star point guards, having followed Deron Williams in Utah, Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City and Damian Lillard in Portland.
Maynor played his college ball at Virginia Commonwealth University and he had a spectacular career there playing under Anthony Grant. He finished his career at VCU as the all-time leader in points and assists, took VCU to two NCAA tournaments, leading them to a win over Duke in the tourney during his sophomore season, and was named CAA player of the year twice. Maynor was drafted in 2009 by the Utah Jazz at number 20 overall, becoming the first player from Virginia Commonwealth University ever to be drafted. He spent the first part of 2009 with the Jazz before being dealt to the Thunder in December. Maynor was with the Thunder for their run to the Western Conference Finals in 2011, averaging 12.9 minutes over 17 games. That playoff experience on a Wizards team mostly devoid of it should not be overlooked. In January of 2012, Maynor tore his ACL, which forced him to miss the rest of the year and he was not himself at the start of 2012-13. The Thunder dealt him to the Blazers at the deadline in 2013, and then Maynor got fully healthy and played the best basketball of his pro career. Over 27 games with the Blazers, Maynor played 21 minutes a night, averaging 6.0 points, 4.0 assists, shot 42 percent from the field and 38 percent from three.
Maynor brings with him a steady hand to run the Wizards' second unit, with a career assist-turnover ratio of 3-1. His job will be to take care of the ball and ensure the offense does not go stagnant when Wall is out of the lineup. He's a true point guard, a very unselfish, pass-first player who is constantly looking to create for others. He doesn't get to the hoop much but is a solid scorer from distance, shooting the ball especially well during his cameo in Portland last year. He is 6'3", which is fine height for a point guard; but he only weighs 175 pounds, meaning sometimes he has difficulty with more physical players at the one. He does not grade out as a great defender but has good lateral quickness to stay in front of most guys. He was a more effective defensive player earlier in his career, and the hope is that as he gets further removed from his injury, he will get back to his previous level.
Portland used Maynor in a slightly different way than he was used in the past, playing as not only a backup to Lillard but also playing alongside him. This was especially true late in games when Lillard would see more pressure and Maynor could take some of that pressure off of him as a second ball handler. I would not expect to see Wall and Maynor get a ton of time like this, but it is an interesting option to free Wall up a little bit. A very small, three guard lineup of Wall, Beal and Maynor would create some interesting looks on the offensive end, as well.
Overall, Maynor's ability to take care of the offense and shoot the occasional three will be his calling card for this team. Since over the final two months of the season Wall averaged over 35 minutes a game (and that number could easily go up this year as he is further removed from his injury), Maynor probably won't see the 21 minutes a night he saw in Portland. He will probably see closer to 15. Nevertheless, as he was playing the best basketball of his career late last season and his ACL injury was over a year ago, the arrow is pointing up for Maynor and he will have the opportunity to carve out a nice role on the 2013-14 Wizards.