Tyrese Maxey proved early and often that’s he’s ready for more and more from the Sixers. So much so that the young guard should start next season.
There was a buzz surrounding Tyrese Maxey since the second he was drafted. After surprisingly being available at the 21st pick last year, the Sixers jumped at the opportunity to draft Kentucky standout and are extremely grateful they did.
Following his impressive rookie year, it is entirely possible that expectations are becoming too high for Maxey. The 20-year-old averaged just 15.3 minutes, where he produced 8 points, 2 assists, and 1.7 rebounds per game. Even with the seemingly small sample size, it is time to hand the reigns to Tyrese Maxey and move him into the starting lineup. This is true regardless of who is on the roster come opening night.
The Australian Elephant in the room has been the story of the offseason. After collapsing in the playoffs (and especially the Hawks series), the relationship between Simmons and the Sixers has quickly deteriorated. At this point, it is well-known that both the Sixers and Simmons would love a divorce, but finding a trade partner to offer equal value has been no small task.
Even if Simmons does return to play to start next season, it seems the relationship has been damaged beyond long-term repair. With Simmons no longer in the future plans for the Sixers, it is time to shift their focus to the development of Tyrese Maxey. If the Sixers find a dynamic on-ball guard in return for Simmons, this would certainly change things, but as it is, Maxey is the most effective perimeter creator. Putting the ball in his hands to prove this and investing in his development is a worthwhile move for the Sixers.
What the Lineup Looks Like
With the assumption that Ben Simmons will report to camp and play as he should, the starting lineup is likely to look the same next season. This lineup helped lead the Sixers to the top spot in the East and outscored opponents by 13.8 points per 100 possessions last season. Despite its success, it seems clear this lineup is not enough for postseason success, and potentially sacrificing a few regular-season wins is a worthy trade.
Even with the off-court drama, it would be a mistake to take Ben Simmons out of the starting lineup. Until he is traded, Simmons will likely remain a starter alongside Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid. Despite being the most consistent player on the Sixers roster this past postseason, Seth Curry could provide an effective scoring pop if he moves to the bench.
While they played just over 39 minutes together last season, the 5 man unit of Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Ben Simmons, Danny Green, and Tyrese Maxey outscored opponents by 9.5 points per 100 possessions. The burst of pace and energy that Maxey would provide is a necessary spark that could be injected into the starting lineup.
What Maxey Brings
The Sixers will continue to fall short of their championship aspirations until there is a legitimate perimeter counterpart to pair with Joel Embiid. Given the current roster, Tyrese Maxey is the Sixers’ best chance at developing into this. These are high expectations to throw onto the second-year player, but he has stepped up at every opportunity that has been presented to him, and it is the Sixers’ best chance at success.
Watching Tyrese Maxey prove to be overqualified for Summer League was awesome to see from the Sixers’ perspective. The 6’2 guard has been on a strict workout routine with his trainer, Chris Johnson, and the results were put on full display. While he only played in just two summer league games, there were noticeable improvements in his shot creation, finishing ability, defense, as well as noticeably adding some muscle.
Maxey still has to make a ton of growth, and the Sixers should look to accelerate this as much as possible. The 20-year-old wide-eyed kid is not the picture-perfect star to add to the lineup, but if Maxey is able to elevate his game alongside the starting core, it may be what the Sixers are missing. This situation could still change rapidly as there are likely some major roster changes on the horizon. Regardless of what happens in the short term, it is time to switch the mindset toward making Tyrese Maxey the point guard of the Sixers.