Being blessed as a remarkable athlete at the NBA level is at times viewed as a blessing and a curse. It’s without question a huge benefit to get to the highest level of basketball, but some analysts will begin to judge players unfairly for only relying on their physical tools.
Corey Maggette received criticism during his career, especially early on, as a guy who only relied on his physical skills to have success and was often stuck in a Kobe Bryant vs. Corey Maggette comparison being the youngsters in the league at that time. It wasn’t until later in his career that he began to become a very cerebral player who could slow the game down at times and excel in other ways beyond being faster and more athletic than everyone else. Once that happened, he was consistently averaging 20 points per contest, and drawing fouls with crafty moves.
Now that he has worked as an analyst, he sees the game in an even different way. It has allowed him to not only understand and explain the game better, but become a better coach as well.
Figuring out the NBA
Physical tools helped Maggette dominate at the high school level, and he was one of the most impactful freshmen in the country during his one season at Duke. Once he arrived in the NBA, he found out like so many other players that it takes more than athleticism to excel.
The Orlando Magic took him as a bit of a project, but they handed him off to the Los Angeles Clippers after just one season. In Los Angeles is when he first started to figure out the game by slowing things down.
A fast, strong, and agile athlete can just run up and down the court and find some success. To turn into a guy putting up 20 or more points consistently, he worked on both his offense and defense. His jump shot became more consistent. He picked his spots to be more efficient. He found ways to get to the line and take advantage of his 82.2% free throw percentage for his career.
Maggette will be the first to admit that despite learning so much during his playing days, being an analyst allows him to see so much more. There are so many little things that go on during the game, and having a unique perspective can open up the eyes. In fact, it gives him a better understanding to some of the things coaches in the past would get on him about.
Understanding the team concept
It is easy to get lost in the idea of putting up monster individual numbers to look great in the NBA. After all, those guys get the endorsements, the big deals, and more. Corey Maggette always had a knack for scoring, but as an analyst, he has an even better understanding of the team concept.
When working with Fox Sports West as a color analyst during the 2018-2019 season, he had a front row seat to a very unique Clippers team. On paper, no one gave the post-Lob City team much of a shot. They went on to make the playoffs and win 48 games.
Maggette was praised for his work in identifying subtle changes made by Doc Rivers to make the team success. This franchise didn’t have a true go-to guy. They made it work with a team effort on both sides of the court.
Helping the Next Generation
Maggette would be the first to admit that he would change some of his game if he was growing up in today’s NBA. By identifying those changes and putting them into words, many see him as a guy who could very well be a successful coach in the future and is behind the Big3 organization. He does a great job breaking down the game as an analyst, but he could help younger players maximize their potential.
Sometimes, stepping back from the game and viewing things differently can open it all up. Maggette certainly feels like that is the case.