The problem with Maxiell is he’s been a moody type of NBA player. He can deliver some things, but at other times, he just doesn’t seem to be a key factor in the game.
But Lawrence Frank liked what he saw of Maxiell last season and is figuring to have him play a key role this year. What kind of a role remains to be seen.
Frank used Maxiell occasionally in his lineup last season and was pleased with the results.
“Max in the lineup did set up the rotation really well,” Frank said.
What the Pistons especially like about Maxiell is the toughness he gives with his inside play that they lack from many other players. He gives them that fighting attitude that a young team needs, as far as Frank is concerned.
“What we talked about in the locker room after the game was just the spirit and fight,” Frank said after his team had played for the seventh time in nine nights. “Instead of saying, ‘oh man here we go again,’ there was fight. I thought Jason Maxiell embodied what the effort was about; his tenacity, effort and toughness. I’m not sure what (Greg Monroe) finished with for offensive rebounds, six, I would bet that three of them were the result of Max keeping balls alive and then to get the big dunk was a momentum play.
“It was a grind, we knew it was going to be a grind.”
That’s why it helps for Maxiell to be in the lineup. When the Pistons need a grinder, he’s usually their guy.
In seven seasons with the Pistons, Maxiell has seen action in 451 games and started in 104. His average of 6.5 points and 5.1 rebounds a game from last year are among his career bests.
“Max is going to bring that toughness, that intensity,” Monroe said. “He’s going to rebound, he’s going to play defense, he’s a big help. He’s a good scorer and he’s a good rebounder, so helps me a lot.”
Frank agrees about Maxiell’s intensity.
“Part of it is about being a veteran, knowing you still have to play aggressive even if you have fouls,” he said. “I think for young players, it is sometimes a learning experience. You have a couple of fouls and then you are not as aggressive. Maxiell’s experience played a big part.”
“I’m not a guy to worry about fouls,” Maxiell said. “You have to work hard out there.”