Doc Rivers ‘Hates’ One Thing About Sixers Emerging Star

Tyrese Maxey

Getty Sixers point guard Tyrese Maxey has been averaging 39 minutes per game in November 2021.

It’s been a learning process for Tyrese Maxey this season, one where the second-year guard has exceeded all expectations. But Doc Rivers still wants to coach him hard and hasn’t been afraid to announce his mistakes. The Sixers head coach did it after his team’s 115-109 loss to Toronto.

Maxey scored 33 points on Thursday night while dishing out five dimes and grabbing four boards. However, the pace wasn’t where Rivers wanted it for long stretches in the second half so he let Maxey know. It’s his job to dictate tempo, something he can’t do when he’s walking the ball up the court.

“I hate when he walks the ball up the floor,” Rivers told reporters. “And, in his defense, I thought he was tired. But pace is our friend and I thought we lost our pace and I thought that’s why we lost the game.”

Fair enough. Maxey has averaged 39 minutes per game in November. The 21-year-old even admitted he was tired at a recent practice. Danny Green made him go home and rest. Tired legs aside, Rivers has never been afraid to criticize his players. Some guys can handle it. Others (see: Ben Simmons) cannot.

“They have to hear it and the fact they can take it helps,” Rivers said. “A lot of guys can’t take it, but you still have to tell them. And the good news is we tell him and he moves on. He made a couple of mistakes today and we told him and he moved on and he processes stuff very well.”

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Looking for Maxey Comparisons

Rivers has coached a lot of talented point guards during his 23-year coaching career. Rajon Rondo is one name he constantly brings up, but he’s a far cry from Maxey. The young guard brings a different dimension to the Sixers’ offense, one predicated on speed and attacking the rim. When asked for a good comparison, Rivers paused for a minute and then blurted out “Troy Hudson.”

“Troy was probably a better shooter but Troy was also a 10-year vet by the time [I got him], I think,” Rivers said. “But I really don’t know if I’ve had a fast guard, I’ve always liked them because they control the tempo of the game.”

Hudson enjoyed one of his best seasons under Rivers’ tutelage in 2001 when he averaged 11.7 points and 3.1 assists per game. They were only together for two years.

Getting Players Paid, Developing Talent

The ability to develop young talent has earned Rivers respect around the league. He relishes seeing guys take hard criticism and fix their mistakes. It has helped plenty of his former students cash in with lucrative extensions. Rivers also thinks it helps lure potential free agents.

“I don’t know how many guys I’ve gotten in one year and the next year they’re making money or doing better,” Rivers said. “But that’s part of every coaches job and I’ve always enjoyed doing it. It’s part of the sell and the reason we get free agents is because they see that. Come one year, get paid the next year.”

That philosophy certainly played a factor in Furkan Korkmaz’s decision to re-up in Philly. Ditto for attracting Georges Niang and Andre Drummond to town. The team has some time to reward Maxey who just had his third-year club option exercised.

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