Sixers Coach Opens Up On Relationship With Tyrese Maxey

Sam Cassell, Sixers

Getty Assistant coach Sam Cassell of the Philadelphia 76ers speaks with Tyrese Maxey #0 against the Chicago Bulls at Wells Fargo Center on November 03, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

There is a real argument that Tyrese Maxey has revitalized the Philadelphia 76ers organization more than any other player in recent history. After being selected by the Sixers with the 21st overall pick in the 2020 draft, Maxey quickly emerged as a core part of the franchise’s future. His maturity beyond his years and NBA-ready abilities pushed the Sixers’ championship window further open. He was vital to navigating during Ben Simmons’ holdout and has grown into a part of the Sixers’ big three on offense despite being just 22 years old.

After a brief shooting slump early this season, Maxey had a bounce-back performance against the Hawks with a 26-point and nine-assist performance which was vital to the Sixers’ success. Following the victory, it was assistant coach Sam Cassell that spoke to the media as Doc Rivers had a personal matter he had to deal with.

The assistant coach spoke glowingly of the young guard when asked about him. As Cassell stated, “I wish we had 12 more Tyrese Maxeys on this ball club. The kid works extremely hard, he takes my criticism, I’m very hard on him if y’all don’t know that by now…he’s my least worry on this team. He’s a true professional.”

Maxey and Cassell’s Relationship

The relationship between Cassell and Maxey has been a key part of the young guard’s growth. This has been the reputation of Cassell as a coach as he played a key role in John Wall’s development in addition to several other players- mainly guards. He was initially brought in to accelerate Simmons’ development but ended up with a much more willing recipient of his coaching in Maxey.

Cassell had no issue comparing Maxey to Wall when asked during a deep dive by Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia. As the assistant coach put it when asked if the two share similarities, “Absolutely. Those two guys you named, their great NBA skill is speed with the ball. And both of them have a great knack for making layups through traffic. John developed into a pretty good shooter. John Wall his first year was not considered a great outside shooter; he was considered a great layup-maker. But we worked and worked and worked, and now he’s accomplished making 15-foot shots, can go back to 23 feet, make threes off the dribble…I think Maxey is right there. The kid works, man. He’s a great kid to teach. … He knows that there’s nothing I gain from this but seeing him being successful.”

Maxey’s Role With The Sixers

The growth of Maxey has been evident. In just 18.3 minutes per game as a rookie, he averaged just 8.0 points, 2.0 assists, and 1.7 rebounds per game. He also shot just 30.1% on three-point attempts while launching 1.7 per game.

Fast forward to the start of his third season in the NBA and Maxey is closer to the All-Star conversation than having any further concerns about his shooting. Through the opening 13 games this season, the Kentucky product is averaging 23.2 points, 4.5 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game. He also has seen his perimeter shooting drastically improve as he is shooting 42.2% from beyond the arc while attempting 6.9 long-range shots per game. This is no fluke as Maxey shot 42.3% on three-pointers last season which ranked third-best across the entire NBA.

It has been amazing to watch the rapid rise of Maxey and will be exciting to see where his career goes. Hopefully, Cassell remains around for the ride as he has done such a terrific job in assisting with the 22-year-old’s development thus far. Just as he stated, the Sixers would be better off if they had more than one Maxey or guys who embraced his work ethic and desire to improve. However, they certainly will be grateful for the one that they do have.

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