Corey Maggette Is No Longer “Bad Porn”

01.07.10 9 years ago 16 Comments

As I was waiting in the Oakland airport last week for my baggage to arrive post vacation bliss, I saw a familiar figure dressed in USA Olympic elite garb leaning against the wall. It was Corey Maggette.

For someone with such a talkative and boisterous persona as he embodies on the court, in this situation, he was just another mellow traveling passerby. Quiet and reserved, Maggette dropped the superstar attitude and flew in off of a Southwest general admittance line fresh from a mini vacation of his own.

For all intents and purposes, this is who Maggette has become recently. Before our very eyes, the 30-year-old, eleventh year pro straight outta Krzyzewskiville seems to have transcended. He’s gone from a self-centered shooting forward to a more reliable veteran presence.

Never one to look for the open man – career averages of 2.2 assists a game speak for itself – Maggette has always looked to fulfill his shot quota before worrying about wins and losses. Somewhere in the mix of Stephen Jackson‘s banishment and Don Nelson‘s fluctuating (and absurd) playing time sheet, Maggette became the Bay’s favorite closet scapegoat behind Monta Ellis. Through all of the negativity surrounding both Golden State and Maggette’s camp, he has managed to put together the most effective and mature season of his career.

What’s more is that the Warriors are flat out terrible (10-24), making this observation even more confounding. Unlike his documented, and justified, gravitation toward being a selfish ball hoarder, Maggette is now playing like a seasoned vet – both mentally and physically. Over the past six outings, he is averaging 26.0 points and 6.7 boards on a un-Maggette like 61 percent shooting (that’s on 84 shots too). On the season, the man is averaging nearly 54 percent from the field and is taking more quality shots versus the head scratching decisions that he had become synonymous with. In his previous ten years in the League, Corey’s next highest shooting percentage has been 47.8 during his rookie year in 1999.

Maggette has been able to quietly produce with such effectiveness as other Warriors begin to assume more responsibility. He has also been able to shed some of his selfishness label – a tag that may never be completely erased – something Ellis has taken in smiling grace. He’s penciling in around 18 and 6 per in less than 30 minutes a game on the year – the same minutes he’s averaged throughout his entire career.

That’s not to say Maggette doesn’t still have his knocks. His passing, defense and constant ref-badgering may never reach a level that front office management is pleased with. Still, Maggette has vastly improved from what he was and has become a positive veteran force in the locker room. I’m not saying that I would toss money at the guy to fill in my frontcourt just yet, but you can’t deny his ascension thus far.

Come to think of it, J.R. Smith composed himself enough to hit two big free throws with less than a second remaining to beat Maggette’s Warriors on Tuesday – with Corey dropping 35 on 12-16 shooting. Who knows, maybe he’s next on the road to transcending maturation. And maybe I’m the Easter Bunny.

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