Instant analysis: Sixers steal Tyrese Maxey at pick #21

BATON ROUGE, LA – FEBRUARY 18: Kentucky Wildcats guard Tyrese Maxey (3) dribbles the ball during a game between the Kentucky Wildcats and the LSU Tigers at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on February 18, 2020. (Photo by John Korduner/Icon Sportswire)

The Sixers have beefed up their guard position with the selection of Tyrese Maxey.

According to a handful of sources, the Philadelphia 76ers have selected Kentucky guard Tyrese Maxey with the 21st overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft. Despite talks of both trading up and trading down, Daryl Morey and the Sixers ultimately held firm at 21, and got an electric two-way player.

Playing as a true freshman for Kentucky this past NCAA season, Maxey averaged 14.0 points per game on 42.7% shooting from the floor. He was widely praised for his elite ball-handling and his ability to create within an offense, and his defense ranked towards the top of all the draftable guards.

While Maxey doesn’t possess the elite perimeter shooting that some fans were hoping for, his overall ceiling is one of the highest in the year’s class. He just turned 20 years old two weeks ago, and plenty of mocks had him as a potential top 12/top 10 pick.

The Sixers were heavily linked with the likes of Tyrell Terry and Desmond Bane this year, but ultimately decided to go with the best player available when their name was on the clock. Maxey instantly becomes one of the Sixers most complete overall guards/ball-handlers, and would likely thrive playing alongside Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Maxey could start instantly for the Sixers, or he could operate as a Lou Williams type sixth-man. His elite athleticism and ability to create his own shot would likely allow him to dominate off the bench, and his above-average on-ball defense should help him to hold his own against opposing NBA guards.

For the most part, this instantly is being perceived as a really smart play by Daryl Morey and the new-look Sixers front office. Perimeter shooting was obviously a need heading into this year’s draft, but when a player of Maxey’s caliber falls to you, you just don’t hesitate.

Look, even LeBron James approves!

Photo by John Korduner/Icon Sportswire