Tyrese Maxey Deserves Most Improved Player Consideration

Tyrese Maxey
CHICAGO, IL – FEBRUARY 06: Philadelphia 76ers Guard Tyrese Maxey (0) dribbles the ball past Chicago Bulls Guard Malcolm Hill (14) during a NBA game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Chicago Bulls on February 6, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire)

With just over a month remaining in the regular season, award races will soon reach their peaks and the Sixers have an award contender in Tyrese Maxey. The Most Improved Player award signifies a budding star whose performance took a major leap. The 2021-22 season has featured many viable MIP candidates, such as Ja Morant and Darius Garland. The following will briefly compare the performances of Most Improved Player favorites to Sixers‘ second-year standout, Tyrese Maxey.

Historically, 12 of the 36 MIP winners have been All-Stars in the same season–six have come within the past ten seasons. Pascal Siakam was the last non-All Star to take home the MIP trophy in 2018-19. This season, it is nearly guaranteed that an All-Star will prevail again.

Commonly amongst the five shortest odds to win MVP, Morant has vaulted himself into superstardom. The chart below briefly details improvements made by each MIP candidate.

Current Odds to win MIP’20-’21 Points Per Game’21-’22 Points Per Game’20-’21 Assists Per Game’21-’22 Assists Per Game’20-’21 Minutes Per Game’21-’22 Minutes Per Game
Ja Morant-140019.127.77.46.632.633.3
Miles Bridges+90012.719.72.23.729.336.2
Darius Garland+150017.420.76.18.133.134.7
Dejounte Murray+160015.720.45.49.431.934.6
Anfernee Simons+35007.817.31.43.917.329.5
Jarrett Allen+700012.816.31.71.729.632.7
Tyrese Maxey+75008.017.62.04.515.335.6
Numbers obtained from Basketball-Reference.com on 3/6/22, odds provided by DraftKings

Numbers obtained from Basketball-Reference.com on 3/6/22, odds provided by DraftKings

In comparison, as a rookie, Tyrese Maxey averaged 8.0 points and 2.0 assists while playing 15.3 minutes per game. The Kentucky product shot 30.1 percent from three on 1.7 attempts per game as the Sixers’ backup point guard. Unexpectedly, Maxey was vaulted into the starting lineup in his second season. His per-36 numbers as a rookie are nearly identical to his averages this season. That may inaccurately suggest he is unchanged.

However, along with his numbers climbing, Tyrese Maxey’s confidence has soared. This season, the 21-year old has averaged 17.6 points and 4.5 assists in 35.6 minutes per game while shooting 42.3 percent from three on 3.7 attempts per game. An increase in his assist-to-turnover ratio suggests improvements in ball security, too. Currently, the young scorer’s assist-to-turnover ratio stands at 3.8 assists per turnover, which is up from 2.9 as a rookie.

The captivating guard is continuing to evolve as a three-level scorer, growing increasingly more comfortable from long range. Additionally, Maxey is more willing to draw contact than the rookie version of himself. He shot 1.1 free throws per game as a rookie. This year, that number has grown to 3.5 free throws per game.

Taking these developments into account, Tyrese Maxey deserves more consideration for MIP. According to DraftKings, the Rising Star boasts the seventh-shortest odds to earn the honor (+7500). It is nearly impossible to make a case against Morant, but it wouldn’t be irrational to believe Maxey should be next-in-line. Most of the frontrunners for the accolade are the focal point of their offenses, which isn’t the case for Sam Cassell‘s protegé.

Upon James Harden‘s arrival, Tyrese Maxey has thrived. In their first four games played together, Maxey has accumulated 26.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2.0 steals per game in 35.6 minutes per game. He is shooting 64.9 percent from the field including a scintillating 70 percent from three on 5.0 attempts per game. Additionally, he is attempting 5.5 free throws per game during the stretch. While these numbers are certainly unsustainable, it is highly encouraging for Maxey’s peaks to be so prolific.

Tyrese Maxey and the Sixers will be back in action on Monday, March 7th versus Chicago. The home game is set to tip-off at 7 o’clock and can be seen on NBC Sports Philly. The matchup will also be broadcasted live on 97.5 The Fanatic. For further Sixers insight and other Philadelphia sports news, visit PhillySportsNetwork.com!

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