Do the Sixers have an asset in Eric Maynor?

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Among the Philadelphia 76ers trade deadline acquisitions, former VCU point guard Eric Maynor is the most likely to make a positive contribution on the court this season. But is he a piece to keep around?

The Philadelphia 76ers trade deadline activity was many things.  It was exciting, if for no other reason than the sheer number of trades Sam Hinkie was able to pull off.  It was a relief to get rid of players whom the fanbase had grown tired of.  It gives hope when thinking about what Sam Hinkie will do with 7 draft picks in the 2014 draft (hint: he won't draft 7 players).

What it wasn't, however, was a trade deadline that brought in much in the way of short-term help on the basketball court, which is all well and good for a team that is looking to maximize its lottery balls come May.  One of the trade deadline acquisitions, Earl Clark, has already been released, and there is already widespread speculation that Danny Granger will be bought out.

The fact that Eric Maynor might contribute the most (in a positive manner) to the 76ers 2013-2014 NBA season isn't so much a compliment as it is an admission that he may be the tallest midget among the circus that was brought in last Thursday.  Still, Maynor was a once highly regarded prospect who is coming in at a position of need for the 76ers.  Is this a position he could fill?

Maynor was certainly an intriguing prospect coming out of VCU, with solid size as a point guard, a diversified offensive game, and instincts better than you would perhaps anticipate from a high-usage guard in the CAA.  After putting on a series of impressive NCAA tournament performances over the years, it was reasonable to be excited about Maynor's NBA prospects, even if he did have some question marks (especially on the defensive end) coming in.

His ability to translate that to the NBA level has been a struggle thus far.  Spending his career to this point backing up a who's-who of NBA point guards (Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard and John Wall), Maynor continues to show a solid ability to control pace, tempo, and get his teammates into spots, even if he can get a little bit out of control at times when looking for his own offense.  He's shot just 39.2% from the floor with a 47% true shooting percentage during his career so far.

At VCU, Maynor's bread and butter was arguably playing off the pick and roll, where he showed ability to either shoot off the pick or use that spacing to get into the paint.  Not a great finisher, Maynor was able to draw fouls at the collegiate level and also had good touch on a floater.

By and large, pick and roll play is still where Maynor spends the majority of his time in a half-court offense.  While still showing an occasional ability to pull up and hit a jumper coming off the pick, he gets very little in the paint at this point of his career.  In fact, according to a shot-chart that you probably don't want to see, he's shooting only 6-17 at the hoop this season, after shooting only 41% on 102 attempts last season.  This is one are where he seems to have never fully recovered or adjusted from the ACL injury a few years back.

His one saving grace on the offensive end is that he can still hit a set-shot if given enough space, which could help Michael Carter-Williams and Tony Wroten a bit when they're handling the ball.  But there are better spot-up shooters out there that you can get to fill that role if that's what you're looking for.  Still, floor spacing is never a negative.

Passing

After watching Maynor's assists over the last two seasons, he's primarily used as a playmaker off the P&R. While not showing exemplary court vision, his timing and pace in this regard look fairly solid, with most of his assists coming off of relatively safe passes to big men popping or stationed outside shooters.

So perhaps if you're looking for fit, a top of key pick and roll with Arnett Moultrie, and James Anderson and/or Elliot Williams flanked to either side beyond the three point line might be a play they could see some success out of, although setting up pick and rolls that are likely to generate Moultrie or Maynor midrange jumpers might not be high on Brett Brown's playcall list, if one even exists anymore.

Stats

Perhaps something could be explained with some of his on-court/off-court stats, but what is revealed is that Washington was in desperate need of a backup point guard.

Stat On-court Off-court Diff
Off Rtg 84.2 103.2 -19
Def Rtg 112.4 101.4 -11
Ast Rate 17.2% 17.6% -0.4%
TmTOV% 19.9% 14.7% -5.2%
TS% 45.9% 53.6% -7.7%
Pace 93.26 96.08 -2.82

Conclusion

Perhaps Sam Hinkie and Brett Brown see something in Eric Maynor that, if they put him in the right spot or develop a specific skill set, they can turn into a productive NBA player.  Much more likely is that Washington viewed signing Maynor as a mistake, and that forced their hand to go out and give up (marginal) assets to try to correct that mistake, with Philadelphia brought in because Denver didn't want to take back Maynor's contract.  It's likely it was about the picks for Hinkie, and Maynor's roughly $2.1 million player option next season was simply the cost of doing business.  I would view any chance that Maynor is a long term option, even at backup point guard, as a bonus.

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