Thoughts on Tyrese Maxey, Anthony Edwards, and Ashton Hagans

January 8th, 2020

by Alan Lu

Yesterday, I took the time to watch Anthony Edwards and the Georgia Bulldogs face off against Tyrese Maxey and the Kentucky Wildcats in an SEC college basketball game. This matchup featured two potential lottery picks that could get selected very high in the 2020 draft. Georgia got off to a fast start early, but Kentucky kept chipping away at the lead, and they ended up overtaking their opponent to get a tough win on the road. Here are my thoughts on how Maxey, Edwards, and the others fared on this day, as well as how their games may translate to the NBA.

 
Kentucky's freshman guard, Tyrese Maxey played very well to lift his team to a road victory over Georgia. (Photo: Dale Zanine/USA Today Sports, via A Sea of Blue.)
Kentucky’s freshman guard, Tyrese Maxey played very well to lift his team to a road victory over Georgia. (Photo: Dale Zanine/USA Today Sports, via A Sea of Blue.)

Kentucky’s freshman guard, Tyrese Maxey had a tremendous, all-around game as he played very well on both ends of the floor to help lift his team to a solid road win over Georgia. He came into the game sporting less than stellar shooting percentages on the season and there were questions about his shot selection and playmaking skills, but he seemed to answer those very well, as his tremendous ability to score off the dribble and solid ability to get his teammates involved allowed him to dominate this contest.

Maxey did a very good job of scoring on speedy drives to the basket. He would often score on floaters, as he has an excellent first step off the dribble that enables him to quickly get to the rim. He also possesses very good body control to regularly score and draw free throws at the rim, as he also managed to score on a double clutch, reverse layup once, and he showed a solid ability to get to the foul line. Sometimes, he would take off-balanced shots in traffic, but Maxey tended to make more of the tough shots that he took in this game. He also flashed the ability to make long-range jumpers in this game. Maxey was able to make an open, spot-up three off the catch, but he missed on two other occasions from beyond the arc. Though he did a decent job of getting to the foul line, he struggled to make his free throws when he was there.

He also displayed very good playmaking skills. Maxey is a speedy, fleet-footed playmaker that can quickly get into the lane, as he excelled at passing off the dribble to rack up assists, and he also threw nice touch passes to set up scores for his teammates. He can throw crisp lob passes to get the ball inside, and Maxey has solid court vision. He did commit a couple of turnovers, as he lost the ball a couple of times when handling it, and he can sometimes rush his moves that may lead him to lose the basketball on occasion.

Maxey also did a great job of rebounding the basketball. He would frequently chase down balls to get defensive boards for his team due to possessing very good athleticism, motor, and instincts, and he also would sometimes push the ball up the floor afterwards.

Plus, he also played solid defense. Maxey showed a knack for blocking and altering shots off of drives to force misses, and he is a rangy defender that can fly in to swat shots to get stops for his team. He also managed to intercept a pass to get a steal, and he also would actively contest threes to force misses. Sometimes though, he struggled to defend off the dribble when he would guard his man on the ball. He was outmuscled on a spin move that led him to allow a score, and he also bit on a pump fake that led his man to score on a mid-range jumper another time. On a separate play, he ended up getting beat on a drive to the hoop that led his teammate rotate to foul the opponent.

In general, Tyrese Maxey played very well as he excelled in all facets of the game to help his team get the win over Georgia. He especially excelled as a scorer and facilitator on the floor, and he looks to be a strong candidate to go in the lottery for the upcoming draft. He is a very talented player that has a lot of upside as a prospect for the NBA, and he could end up being a solid player in the association.

Georgia's freshman guard, Anthony Edwards scored 23 points in his team's loss to Kentucky.  (Photo: John Bazemore/The Associated Press.)
Georgia’s freshman guard, Anthony Edwards scored 23 points in his team’s loss to Kentucky. (Photo: John Bazemore/The Associated Press.)

Georgia’s freshman guard, Anthony Edwards had an adequate showing in his team’s loss to Kentucky. He excelled as a scorer when he was on the floor, and he also made some tough shots on offense, but he was also streaky with his jump shot, and he struggled on the defensive end in this game.

Edwards showed a good ability to get scores off the dribble. He would score and draw free throws on strong drives to the hoop, as he can use spin moves to get past defenders, and he also can split double teams to get all the way to the hoop. He showed a knack for drawing fouls upon his opponents, as he can get them into foul trouble.

Plus, he also excelled as a scorer in the post. He was able to score on a strong move in traffic after posting up once, and he also drew free throws on a strong, turnaround jumper. Edwards can also score on hustle plays. On one possession, he managed to score on a thunderous dunk off of a backdoor cut. Sometimes, he would miss shots as he may shot it too hard, but he generally excelled as a scorer in the paint.

He also showed a decent ability to knock down jumpers to provide floor spacing for his team on offense. Edwards was able to make several pull-up threes, as he can also dribble off of screens and use step back moves to do so. He also used a step back move to make a long two from just inside the arc. However, Edwards also missed a handful of threes both off the catch and dribble that led to misses.

Also, Edwards displayed decent playmaking skills. He can pass off the dribble, as well as from the post to set up scores for his teammates, and he also managed to find a cutter to notch an assist in this game. He also set a good on-ball screen that enabled his teammate to get open to shoot a jumper. He did commit a couple of turnovers, as he threw a ball away when passing off the dribble once, and he also had a ball poked off of him on a drive to the basket due to having put on the blinders when taking it to the rim.

He also was able to help his team on the glass, as he managed to collect a handful of rebounds to get boards for his team. However, he did commit a loose ball foul when going for an offensive rebound once due to over-aggressiveness.

On the downside, Edwards did not play very good defense in this game. On one good play though, he was able to fight through a screen to stay with an opposing ball handler, as he has adequate footwork and good strength to get through ball screens. However, Edwards was too unfocused on the defensive end, which would cause him to allow scores.  He tended to get beat off the dribble too often to allow scores, as he often had trouble guarding quicker players, and he didn’t seem to always show much interest in guarding opponents on the defensive end. He also would tend to over-help in the paint, as he would leave his man open, leading him to allow three-point baskets to his opponents. He also committed a foul on a drive when trying to block the shot, as he was called for the foul on the follow through, and there was a separate play where he didn’t get back on defense as his team allowed a score in transition.

In summary, Anthony Edwards had some good moments in his team’s loss to Kentucky, and he played well from a box score standpoint, as he scored 23 points against them. However, he had too many defensive breakdowns, and there were also times where he struggled to make shots in crucial situations when the game was close. Still, he is a talented scorer whose elite athletic gifts and ability to put the ball in the hoop could enable him to be a likely lottery pick in the 2020 draft, and he could end up being a solid player similar to current Denver Nuggets’ guard, Jamal Murray in the NBA.

Kentucky's sophomore point guard, Ashton Hagans had a good game in his team's win over Georgia.  (Photo: USA Today Sports, via 247 Sports.)
Kentucky’s sophomore point guard, Ashton Hagans had a good game in his team’s win over Georgia. (Photo: USA Today Sports, via 247 Sports.)

Kentucky’s sophomore point guard, Ashton Hagans played well in his team’s win over Georgia. Though he struggled to consistently make shots, he excelled as a facilitator and defender when he was on the court, and he also made some tough shots to help his team on offense.

Hagans did a fairly good job of scoring on quick drives to the hoop. He has good speed to get all the way to the rim, and he can score using either hand. He also used a behind the back dribble when going to his left to score on a nifty layup once. Plus, he also did a good job of drawing free throws when taking the ball to the rim.

He also ran the floor to score on a layup off the glass on the break, while getting an extra free throw. He did have a couple of misses on drives in transition, but Hagans generally excelled when he would attack the basket to put pressure on the defense.

He struggled to consistently make jumpers, as he tended to miss on three-point shots, but he did pull up to make a three off the dribble once.

Plus, he also displayed solid playmaking skills. Hagans throws very good interior passes to set up scores for his teammates, and he can find them off the move. Sometimes though, he would get the ball poked away as he can struggle to protect the basketball, and he also threw a hasty pass that ended up getting intercepted another time.

Though he didn’t grab many rebounds, he was able to haul in a couple of defensive boards to help his team on the glass.

Hagans also played terrific defense. He would often poke balls away and jump passes to get a plethora of steals for his team, and he would apply heavy ball pressure to make it difficult for his opponents to handle the basketball. He also rotated to block a shot off of a cut to a teammate due to possessing very good athleticism, anticipation skills, and timing to do so. Sometimes though, he would get beat on moves to the hoop, which would occasionally lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, Ashton Hagans had a fairly solid game, as he especially excelled as a playmaker and defender when he was on the court. He is one of the best defenders in college basketball, and he could be a potential first round pick in the 2020 draft. He will need to improve his jump shot and make more shots consistently on offense, but he is a talented player that could project to be a solid role player at the next level.

Kentucky’s 6-11 junior center, Nick Richards had a solid showing in his team’s win over Georgia. He excelled at scoring in the paint, and he also rebounded the ball well in this game.

Richards did a good job of scoring in the post. He would frequently score on dunks, and he also scored on an alley-oop after catching a lob pass. Plus, he also got deep position early on, as he was able to score on a jump hook around the basket.

He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays. He runs the floor well, and he would beat his man down court to score on fast breaks. He also managed to score on a tip-in, and he also scored on a jam off of a roll to the rim. He also took a turnaround, mid-range jumper from the baseline once, but he missed on that occasion.

Richards was quite turnover prone on offense, however. He tended to commit offensive fouls when trying to post up off the ball, as he would tend to push off with his arm. He also would commit some careless turnovers, as he had a ball poked away in the post once, and he also threw a bad pass that was intercepted another time.

He also did a very good job of rebounding the basketball. He hauled in plenty of boards on both ends of the floor, as he would leap up to get them to help his team on the glass.

Overall, Nick Richards put forth a good performance to help lead his team to a victory over Georgia in conference play. He’s had a solid junior year so far, as he has shown significant improvements as an offensive player this season. He has improved his ability to score in the post exponentially. Right now, he will need to improve his face-up game and cut down on turnovers, but he is an athletic, energetic big man that could project to be a defensive specialist at the next level, and he could end up being a good find for an NBA team in the second round range of the upcoming draft.

Kentucky’s sophomore point guard, Immanuel Quickley played very well to help lead his team to a road win over Georgia. He had a solid all-around game, as he really excelled at making plays on both ends off the bench to give his team a boost.

Quickley did a very good job of knocking down jumpers to space the floor for his team on offense. He showed a knack for making spot-up threes, and he also ran off the ball to make one early on. He also can score off the dribble as well as in transition, but he had trouble making floaters or mid-range jumpers in this game.

He also passed the ball well. Quickley is a good passer in transition, as he would get the ball out to his teammates to set up scores for them. He also would chase down balls to get rebounds for his team, as he was quite active at crashing the glass.

Defensively, he looked to be above average on that end of the floor. Quickley did a good job of intercepting passes to get steals, and he also contested a drive to force a miss. However, he tended to be over-aggressive in contesting shots, which would lead him to commit fouls, and he also fouled a three-point shooter that led his team to give up three free throws.

Overall, Immanuel Quickley had a solid showing, as he made solid plays on both ends of the floor to help his team get the victory. He is a quick, agile playmaker that could be a starting point guard on most college teams, and he could project into a backup point guard role at the next level. Right now, he may be a second round prospect, as he is a cerebral, skilled table setter that can aptly run the point.

Other Notes:

Kentucky’s 6-7 freshman swingman, Keion Brooks also played fairly well, as he excelled as a scorer in the limited amount of touches he received on offense. Brooks showed a knack for scoring in the post, as he can score on drop step moves as well as on running jump hooks. He also showed an adequate ability to score off the dribble, as he scored on a floater off of a put back, but he also missed on a layup in traffic another time despite having used a pump fake to get to the rim.

However, he was fairly turnover prone on offense. He dropped a pass clumsily out of bounds once, and he also lost the ball in the post that led him to commit another turnover. He didn’t always show great hands in this game, and he had some trouble protecting the basketball in this game.

Though he didn’t grab many rebounds, he was able to leap up to get an offensive rebound early on in this contest. Brooks played above average defense. He showed good length and positioning to stay with an opposing ball handler on a drive, as he ended up forcing his man to commit a traveling violation. He did rotate to commit a foul on a drive another time, but Brooks showed promise as an on-ball defender for the next level.

Overall, Keion Brooks played fairly well, as he excelled as a scorer in the post, and showed some defensive skills in his team’s win over Georgia. Right now, he will need to improve his jump shot and find more ways to get playing time in games, but he is a second round prospect that could project to be a defensive specialist in the NBA.

Kentucky’s 6-6 freshman swingman, Kahlil Whitney didn’t actually play that much, but he was able to make a couple of solid plays when he was in the game. On offense, he managed to set a good, firm off-ball screen to help get his teammate open that time. He didn’t actually take any shots, but he showed a willingness to play his team’s system.

He also played solid defense. Whitney’s best play was when he rotated to block a shot off of a drive out of bounds, as he flew in from the blindside to do so. He possesses very good athleticism, timing, and instincts, as he has the skills to project into a defensive specialist at the next level. He also was able to grab a defensive rebound, but he also committed a couple of loose balls fouls when going for other boards.

Overall, Whitney has struggled considerably on offense this season, but he showed some promise as a defender in this game against Georgia. He is a very athletic, energetic swingman that will compete to make plays on the defensive end, but he will need to improve his offensive skills. Right now, he may be fairly raw offensively, but his intriguing blend of athleticism and defensive skills may suggest that he could end up being a rotation player similar to Oklahoma City Thunder’s guard, Hamidou Diallo in the NBA.

Kentucky’s 6-9, redshirt senior forward, Nate Sestina had some good moments in his team’s victory over Georgia. He excelled as a floor spacer on offense, as he made an open three off the catch as well as a pull-up, mid-range jumper, and he also ran the floor to score on an emphatic jam while getting an extra free throw on a separate play. He showed surprising athleticism and motor in scoring on a fast break dunk while showing his trademark shooting skills to help his team offensively. However, he struggled to score in the post, and he also missed on a tip-in after leaping up to get an offensive rebound.

He was able to throw a nice pass once to get an assist, and he is a good passer that can set up scores for his teammates. Plus, Sestina also rebounded the ball very well. He struggled defensively though, as he had trouble defending opponents off the dribble, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, Nate Sestina is a skilled combo forward that can shoot and score the basketball. He will need to improve his defense, but his ability to put the ball in the hoop may make him a likely bet to make an NBA team’s summer league roster in 2020.

Georgia’s junior forward, Rayshaun Hammonds did not play very well, as he struggled to make shots consistently or to defend in his team’s loss to Kentucky.

For the positives, he made some very good plays on offense, despite having scored just 9 points on 2 of 9 shooting in this game. He was able to calmly make a three off the dribble, and he can make pull-up jumpers with relative ease. Hammonds also drew free throws after driving hard to the basket once. He also drew a non-shooting foul after making a quick rip move from the post. However, he also tended to miss on spot-up threes, and he also struggled to score in traffic when looking to score off the dribble.

Hammonds was able to set a good on-ball screen to free up a shooter, which helped his team get the score once. He did commit one turnover, as he was called for traveling on a drive in transition after using a spin move, but he likely would’ve scored the basket if they had not called him for steps.

He did not grab many rebounds in this game, but he was able to collect multiple boards on both ends of the floor, and he also pushed the ball up the court once off of a defensive rebound.

On the downside, Hammonds struggled defensively against Kentucky. For the positives, he was able to contest a mid-range shot to force a miss, and he also successfully challenged a shot in the post to get his man to miss another time. However, he had trouble guarding opponents off the dribble, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores, and he also would commit fouls due to over-aggressiveness.

Overall, Rayshaun Hammonds is a skilled, combo forward that can make a variety of shots, but he struggled to make them consistently in his team’s loss to Kentucky. He will need to improve his jump shot from long distance, and he will need to stop missing easy shots around the basket. Right now, he may be a borderline second round candidate for the upcoming draft, but he could potentially end up being an effective role player in the NBA similar to Portland Trail Blazers’ forward, Anthony Tollver if things break his way.

Georgia’s 6-4 senior guard, Jordan Harris played very well off the bench in his team’s loss to Kentucky. He excelled as a scorer off of cuts and drives to the basket, and he also passed and defended well. Harris managed to score on a thunderous dunk off of a cut, and he also would use quick spin moves to score on drives.

He also was able to find a cutter to notch an assist to demonstrate his playmaking skills. Plus, he played very good defense. He can poke balls away and jump passes to get steals, and he also rotated to the post to make a chase down block from behind. On the downside, he can be prone to committing fouls due to over-aggressiveness, and he also did not take a single three-point shot on offense.

Overall, Jordan Harris had a terrific showing in this game, and he is a very athletic, energetic player that made a positive impact for his team when he was on the floor. Though he has not gotten into many games or played much this year, he is an intriguing prospect that could project into a defensive specialist role at the next level.