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Where Are They Now: Maalik Wayns

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The series continues with a look at point guard Maalik Wayns, who has played all over Europe.

Philadelphia 76ers v Dallas Mavericks

Clippers’ Career:

After going unselected in the 2012 NBA Draft, Maalik (a point guard) was signed in late July of 2012 by the Philadelphia Sixers. He played 21 games in Philly, but struggled with his shot, and was waived in January. His rights were picked up by the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the D-League, but he was there for just over a month before getting signed to a 10-day contract by the Clippers. They signed him to a second one, and then picked him up for the remainder of the season. Wayns played with the Clippers’ Summer League team, signing a non-guaranteed deal in training camp. He was waived in January of 2014 before his deal was guaranteed. He signed one last 10-day deal with the Clippers before being waived, and returned to the Vipers.

The Clippers clearly liked Maalik, as he was on the Clippers’ roster (or affiliated in some way) for the better part of a year. However, these were the early Chris Paul era Clippers, and with Eric Bledsoe and then Darren Collison on the rosters, there just wasn’t playing time available for Maalik. Therefore, he only played 46 minutes across those two seasons in 8 games. In those brief appearances he played well, but it just wasn’t enough of a sample size to establish him as an NBA player.

2014-2015:

Wayns played in several games for the Wizards in Summer League, but quickly signed a one year deal with Zalgiris Kaunas of the Lithuanian basketball league. However, he was waived before playing in a game with them due to injury, and returned to the United States. His rights were traded by the Vipers to the Delaware 87ers, where he had his best performance in the D-League, upping his assists and lowering his turnovers. Once again, however, Wayns failed to hit from outside, shooting 26.5% from three on 2.6 attempts per game. When that season was over, he signed with Ateniensis de Manati in Puerto Rico for the remainder of their season, a mere six games. He started for them, but didn’t play all that many minutes, and still struggled with his outside shot.

2015-2016:

Maalik headed to Europe once more, signing with Pallacanestro Varese of the Italian Serie A in August of 2015. He played in 41 games with them, the most he has played for any team in his professional career, and started 32. He played well enough in the regular season, but upped his play in the FIBA Europe Cup, a higher-level competition that includes teams from all over Europe. He shot better from the field, increased his assists, lowered his turnovers, and, most impressively, hit over 40% of his threes. Maalik’s improved play was a big reason that Varese finished runner-up in the competition.

2016-2017:

In August, Wayns signed with Enisey Krasnoyarsk in Russia. He only played seven games with the club, however, before joining Maccabi Rishon LeZion of the Israeli league. Wayns probably had the best season of his career to this point with Maccabi, scoring 15 points per game while shooting 40% from three. He only played a mere 16 games with the club, however, leaving him with a small sample size as a plus outside shooter. Nonetheless, still only aged 26 and with a strong season in a good league behind him, Wayns’ career seemed to be on the rise.

2017-2018:

Accordingly, Maalik signed with the Mavericks on a training camp deal in August of 2017, his first taste of the NBA since Summer League over two years before (also with the Mavs). Sadly, Wayns was waived in mid-October, not making it to the regular season. He joined Joventut Badalona of the Spanish Liga ACB a couple weeks later, remaining with them the rest of the season. In 15 games, Maalik scored 11 points per game, but didn’t provide much else, with low rebound and assists numbers. Even less encouragingly, while his volume of three-point shots continued to rise (7.0 attempts per game), his success rate fell back to 33.3%. Still, he was clearly a fine player for the club.

The Future:

Just three weeks ago, Maalik signed with Treviso of the Italian Serie A, returning to the league he’d played in back in 2014-2015. One assumes he will have a season much like those of his previous stops: he is a solid starting point guard on decent international teams. Maalik is somehow just 27 even though he’s been around for what feels like a long time, and should still have many years left in his career. It’s unlikely he ever generates an NBA career at this point, but it’s possible he could be a third-string point guard at some point. His lack of an outside shot and merely average playmaking has kept him from reaching the next level, yet he’s a competent, steady hand at point guard, and has made a nice career for himself.