Nobody knows the NBA’s Northwest Division like Eric Maynor.
The former VCU star – the Rams’ all-time leader in points and assists – was dealt Thursday prior to the NBA’s trade deadline from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the division-rival Portland Trail Blazers. Maynor was originally drafted by the Utah Jazz in 2009, meaning when he slips on his Blazers’ jersey this week, he’ll have played for three-fifths of the division in four seasons. Denver and Minnesota, you’re on the clock.
Maynor struggled this season after tearing his ACL last year. After three solid seasons as Russell Westbrook’s steady backup, Maynor saw his minutes evaporate in favor of second-year man Reggie Jackson. Maynor did not play in any of the Thunder’s three most recent games and has logged double-digit minutes once since mid-December. He’s averaging 2.8 points and shooting .313 from the field, down from his career marks of 4.2 points and .395 shooting. Maynor’s assist-to-turnover ratio is still a desirable 2.5-to-1, however.
So, it was probably time for a fresh start for Maynor, who heads to a 25-29 Portland team that is currently 10th in the Western Conference. The Blazers desperately needed an upgrade behind All-Star point guard and odds-on Rookie of the Year favorite Damian Lillard. Lillard’s current backups are journeyman Ronnie Price and former Duke standout Nolan Smith. I would consider Maynor, who can still run an offense, a considerable step up from both Price and Smith.
It could also serve as an audition of sorts for Maynor, whose original rookie contract expires at season’s end. There’s always a market in the NBA for point guards with 3-to-1 career assist-to-turnover ratios.
I want to thank the Oklahoma City Thunder for everything the last 3 years……appreciate all the love n support from the fans as well……
— Eric Maynor (@EMaynor3) February 21, 2013