The second-year guard out of Kentucky has blown away the Philadelphia 76ers‘ fanbase this season. One game after another, the young stud shows poise, unselfishness, and an always improving skill set that far exceeds the expectation of a player picked outside the top 20 of a draft.
Maxey has more than doubled his scoring output while becoming an impressive defender. He’s become one of the most efficient passers in the league as well. While he isn’t flashy on that end, he’s one of the top players in the league in terms of assist-to-turnover ratio.
Along with this improvement, the cult following of Maxey has also increased exponentially. To the point that some are calling him the second-best player on the team (a slight at Tobias Harris). Considering the on-the-court talent, his cult following, his age (21 years 15 days), and his contract (roughly $10M over three years), the question makes sense to ask:
Should Tyrese Maxey be considered untouchable?
Let’s first dive into the concept of an NBA player being “untouchable.” Few players in the NBA meet the literal definition of “untouchable.” Giannis Antetokounmpo now that he has resigned in Milwaukee is likely the only player in the league that is truly “untouchable.” If one is to be a literal stickler, as “untouchable” as Joel Embiid may be, for instance, if someone offered to trade Steph Curry and Klay Thompson for Embiid, Daryl Morey would be a fool not to take that offer, Embiid said as much himself.
Now to be “functionally untouchable” is a different story. Players such as Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, Ja Morant are “functionally untouchable,” meaning that almost no matter the offer, or a trade request, such a player is not getting moved.
So should Maxey be considered “functionally untouchable?” Well, again, it depends on the offer. The Sixers should not move Maxey in just any deal no but if it’s as a part of a package to acquire a top-end star, should they consider it? Perhaps, perhaps not. It’s honestly no longer that simple.
For instance, thanks to the play of both Damian Lillard and Maxey, the young Sixers should no longer be offered in a deal for the Portland star. The reason being is that any deal for Lillard almost certainly includes Ben Simmons as well, and while Lillard, no matter his stats, is a top-end player, the combination of Maxey and a lower-level return for Simmons could prove to be more valuable to the Sixers.
Now, if the player in question is Luka Doncic, then, of course, the situation differs despite Simmons’ assumed inclusion. Luka is young, cheaper, and better than Lillard already in his young career. A player of that combined value is one a team should truly sell the farm for, and yes, that includes Tyrese Maxey. It’s absolutely a matter of “who’s on the table?”
So to answer the question with an absolute copout:
“Should Tyrese Maxey be Considered Untouchable?”