Looming Large: Corey Maggette
After just one year of experience at Duke, Maggette was raw entering the NBA, but scouts considered him to be a phenomenal athlete who could contribute in the NBA immediately because of physical ability alone. Maggette is still considered a very effective guard/forward, but he never developed the way many thought he would.
Maggette played on some talented but mismanaged Clippers teams and was forced to come off the bench for several seasons because the roster was loaded with similar types of players. In 2005, the Clippers and Maggette maid their first playoff run in years, but since then, the team has been devastated by injuries and Maggette has been forced to evolve into a team leader.
Power forward Elton Brand has missed the entire season with an Achilles injury, and while the Clippers have struggled, Maggette has flourished. He has had a career year, averaging 22 points a game, nearly 6 rebounds and 3 assists. He has also started 96% of the games he has participated in this season, the most since 2003.
Maggette doesn't dominate at any one facet of the game, which is his strength and weakness. He can do everything very well, and has developed into one of the better slashers in the league. He finishes well around the rim and can get to the free-throw line regularly, as he averages almost 10 foul-shots a game. He has made just 53 three-pointers on the year, but has shot 40% from behind the arc, making him a very efficient shooter when left open.
While he's good at everything, Maggette isn't great at any one aspect. His defense is average, and although he can create his own shot, Maggette doesn't have the most reliable jump-shot. At 6-6, 225lbs, Maggette does a decent job on the glass, but could grab more rebounds with his jumping ability and size.
The last time Maggette played his former team, he dropped 27 points in a loss to Orlando. If the Clippers want to beat the Magic this time, Maggette must have another big game. He will likely be guarded by Maurice Evans and Hedo Turkoglu, who can both give him problems. Maggette is a little more athletic than both players, but if each player can get up and his face and take away driving lanes for him, Maggette will be ineffective unless he gets hot from the field. It's been a longtime since Maggette was doing Culligan commercials in Orlando, and while he never developed into a superstar, Maggette has become one of the better overall players in the NBA and can be unstoppable on any given night.
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