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2014-15 Player Report Cards: Jason Maxiell

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A hot topic amongst fans, the playing time of Jason Maxiell was ultimately a mixed bag this season. Unless coach Steve Clifford has more personnel control than is perceived, this could be Maxiell's one and only season for the Hornets.

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Other than maybe Gary Neal, who ended his stint with the Hornets on a horrid shooting slump, no other player was greeted with more vitriol than Jason Maxiell. When the team brought in the ten year veteran big man, many fans saw him as little more than a break-in-case-of-emergency type player. However, in his season preview here on At the Hive it was predicted that he might be coach Steve Clifford's Jeff Adrien, aka the undersized "center" that plays over fan favorite Bismack Biyombo.

Unfortunately, we were right. #BringBacktheBiz became a thing. Fans were furious and taking it out on Steve Clifford. Finally, changes were made and Biyombo was back into the rotation. However, that wasn't the end of it. Later in the season, Maxiell continued to play over rookie Noah Vonleh, who fans were anxious to see on the court outside of garbage time.

So did Maxiell have some sort of secret blackmail over Clifford to guarantee his playing time, or was he actually an ok player that was wrongly hated?

Performance

G

MPG

FG%

FT%

REB

BLK

TOV

PTS

Per Game

61

14.4

0.422

0.577

3.3

0.7

0.5

3.3

Per 36 Minutes

8.3

1.8

1.2

8.3

PER

ORTG

DRTG

NET RTG

OBPM

DBPM

BPM

WS/48

Advanced

10.4

99

103

-4

-4.5

1.9

-2.6

0.074

Per Basketball-Reference.

Looking at the box score, it's easy to see why fans disliked Jason Maxiell. In addition to being unable to shoot efficiently or dominate any one facet of the game, the team was much worse at defensive rebounding with him on the floor (76.2 percent of available defensive rebounds) versus with him off the floor (80.2 percent). At his size, just 6'7", it's very difficult to both block out and make effort to grab rebounds, something Al Jefferson and Bismack Biyombo both do very well.

Although the numbers aren't favorable, Maxiell did bring toughness to a Hornets squad lacking physical players. His screen setting and pick-and-roll game was arguably the best on the team (this says more about the rest of the Hornets roster than it does Maxiell's game). His post defense was also surprisingly solid (see Top Play below). And finally, his team defense was solid and for his size he actually protected the rim decently (1.8 blocks per 36 minutes, opponent field goal percentage of 51% at the rim).

Growth

At this point in his career, the only growth that you are likely to see from Jason Maxiell is at his waistline.

Top Play

Although he had some decent dunks and met a few younger guys at the rim, nothing beat this block on future hall of famer Anthony Davis.

Off-Court

If you're into this sort of reality TV drama, Maxiell and his wife Brandi Maxiell, are part of Basketball Wives L.A., and there were a few plot developments that I believe happened in the most recent season.

Future

Steve Clifford may have been making a statement when he decided to play Maxiell over Biyombo for a large portion of the season. He wants veteran players that he can use to make his systems better, not young players whose mistakes negatively affect his systems. That being said, if the Hornets enter next season with Maxiell as the fourth or fifth big man, they have failed miserably.

At this point of his career, he shouldn't be more than a team's Jannero Pargo. By all reports, Maxiell is a great guy, a leader in the locker room, is willing to work with young players, and an ok emergency option. However, the Hornets should pursue a more talented player to either replace Bismack Biyombo (gulp) or to have available in case of an Al Jefferson injury, which is becoming more likely each year as he battles the undefeated Father Time.

Best of luck Maxiell, you served the Hornets valiantly and your character and effort should be the standard for the franchise.