Eric Maynor goes into every game with a four-item checklist, a short, simple summation of what coaches expect of him when his number is called.
"Get guys shots. Take care of the basketball. Score when you need to. And defend,” said Maynor, the rookie point guard who the Thunder acquired in a trade with Utah on Dec. 22.
So far, Maynor has made it all look easy. In eight games with Oklahoma City, Maynor has recorded 24 assists against six turnovers.
Check and check.
As the backup to starter Russell Westbrook, Maynor has averaged 5.5 points and one steal in 14.8 minutes.
Add two more checks.
More importantly, though, Maynor has provided the Thunder with stability and long-term security at the position, two components that have eluded the franchise since current management took over in 2007.
Over the past 2
seasons, the Thunder franchise has run through eight backup point guards, first alternating Delonte West, Luke Ridnour, Earl Watson and Mike Wilks in Seattle, then trotting out Westbrook, Watson, Wilks, Chucky Atkins, Kevin Ollie and Shaun Livingston throughout the past two years.
But in Maynor, the Thunder now seems ready to stop the song in its game of musical chairs.
"It’s amazing that he’s come into the games controlling the games as well as he has,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "You can tell the guys that follow the league and are gym rats, because he came in and knew exactly what our guys liked and where they like it. That’s a great thing to have.”
Maynor, the 20th overall pick out of Virginia Commonwealth, ranks ninth in assists-to-turnover ratio with a 3.09 rate. His 10.5 assists per 48 minutes rank seventh in the league. And since arriving in Oklahoma City, Maynor has improved his shooting percentage to 46.2 percent from the field and 62.5 percent from beyond the 3-point line.
"Offensively, he’s pretty much flawless in leading our team,” Brooks said.