Duke slayer Maynor joins Wizards team 'on the rise'

Duke slayer Maynor joins Wizards team 'on the rise'
July 10, 2013, 5:15 pm
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Maynor glad to join Washington's young core

Even though it came over six years ago and he's been in the NBA since 2009, basketball fans still ask Eric Maynor about a specific shot from his college days, the stunning game-winner against Duke in the 2007 NCAA Tournament.

"All the time. People always talk about that game, that shot," said the former VCU star and new member of the Washington Wizards. " Some people be mad, but, people always talk about [it]."

Speaking with the Wizards media on Wednesday for the first time as a member of the Wizards, Maynor was then told there is a strong anti-Duke faction in this area.

"So I’ll get a lot of high fives then," the point guard cracked.

If Maynor fulfills the team's vision as a reserve floor leader that can execute half court sets and be a key piece in the franchise reaching the postseason for the first time since 2008, there will plenty more high fives coming.

The Wizards entered the offseason with two strong building blocks in the backcourt, yet no depth behind John Wall and Bradley Beal. As of Wednesday of morning that is officially no longer the case as the team announced the addition of Maynor and the re-signing of Garrett Temple.

Washington also announced the official re-signing of small forward Martell Webster.

On the first day NBA teams could consummate agreed upon contracts, both guards were in D.C. on Wednesday as the Wizards continued preparations for the upcoming Las Vegas Summer League. Neither of the veterans are part of that roster, but both will be key reserves when the games truly turn real for the 2013-14 season.

Maynor played 64 games with Oklahoma City and Portland last season, averaging 4.5 points and 2.8 assists, though his game picked up after the midseason trade to the Trail Blazers. Selected by Utah in the first round of the 2009 draft, the 6-foot-3 point guard owns career averages of 4.5 points and 3.0 assists.

After playing with Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook and Damian Lillard, Maynor will backup Wall in Washington.

"Eric is a solid player who has thrived playing behind some of the league’s best point guards," Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld said in a statement released by the team. “He will bring stability and experience in that role and add leadership and character off the floor."

Terms were not disclosed by the team, but a source previously told CSNwashington that the Wizards signed Maynor to their bi-annual exception of two years for a total of approximately $4 million.  

Temple signed a one-year deal for the veteran's minimum, meaning the 27-year-old will enter the season with a guaranteed contract for the first time in the NBA.

Beyond just serving as a backup to fellow North Carolinian Wall, the one player on the Wizards he knew prior to joining the team, Maynor believes the two can play together.

"Absolutely. It was the same way when I was in Oklahoma with Russell," Maynor said. "[John] and Russell might be, like the same player. A lot of similarities to both of them. I’m excited to play with him."

Maynor missed a chunk of the Thunder's Western Conference title run during the 2011-12 season after tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament in January 2012. Now he joins a Wizards team "that’s going to be on the rise." Washington finished last season 29-53, but improved significantly when Wall returned from his own knee injury, closing with a 25-25 record.

"Just seeing that they was real good when John came back and that just played a part in my decision," Maynor said. "Just knowing that we got a bunch of young guys, talented. I’m looking forward to it." 

After a slow start to last season - Maynor averaged only 10 minutes per game with the Thunder - Oklahoma City traded him to Portland. Even though he went from a playoff contender to lottery team, Maynor's game bloomed, averaging 6.9 points, 4.0 assists in 21 minutes over 27 games. 

"I came back from that injury. The first half of that season, I was in Oklahoma. Then I got to Portland, I was playing more minutes and able to do a lot more stuff, but both places was great." 

The doctor's allowing him to play without his knee brace starting around the All-Star break also aided the self-described true point guard's game. 

Maynor: "More free and just playing. Got my confidence back, because it was tough coming off that injury, but soon as I got out of that brace, my confidence got back high."

As for the knee injury, Maynor says have no fear. 

"It’s way over a year now, so I’m good," said the smiling 26-year-old. "I’m 110 percent, so I’m okay."

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