Daryl Morey Puts Sixers Star Tyrese Maxey on Notice

Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers

Getty Tyrese Maxey #0 of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Tyrese Maxey took a major leap last season for the Philadelphia 76ers. But if the team is going to exercise their playoff demons, Philadelphia might need their young star to hit another gear next season.

Last year, Maxey was nothing short of spectacular. The former Kentucky Wildcat blossomed as a sophomore, boosting his points per game from 8.0 as a rookie to 17.5 in 2021-22. He also shot the lights out of the ball from three, finishing with a 42.7% make rate from beyond the arc. He showed enough flashes last season that he’s on the watchlist to make his first All-Star game next season.

And yet, the Sixers might still need Maxey to take yet another step forward in 2022-23. At least that’s what GM Daryl Morey is hoping for.

“And probably the key things are we need Joel to yet again give us an MVP-level performance; we need James to be just himself — we don’t even need five years ago James, we need the guy we saw last year for most of the games; but the biggest inflection point is probably we need Maxey to take another step forward,” Morey said to NBC Philadelphia’s John Clark on an episode of Clark’s podcast The Take Off on September 13.

Perhaps that was Morey’s plan all along — pair an aging Harden with a rising star in Maxey. If Maxey does rise to the occasion next season, he’ll be vital to the Sixers going deep in the playoffs.

At least, that’s what Morey thinks.

Morey Gives Maxey a Vote of Confidence

In the same breath that Morey demanded more from his young star, he made sure to add that he believes firmly in Maxey’s abilities.

“And he can do it,” Morey said. “He’s putting the work in. Look, it’s really hard. His rookie year was way ahead of schedule. His second year was way, way ahead of schedule. And to ask him to do another leap forward is asking a lot, but we do need it. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he does it given how much time he puts in.”

There’s no doubt that Maxey was ahead of schedule in 2020-21. Even in his rookie season, he flashed enough potential and star power to keep him out of the G-League. He wasn’t a starter but maxed out his potential as a bench-unit sparkplug as a rookie.

There’s also no question Maxey is dedicated to perfecting his craft. In fact, Maxey’s love for the game is causing some confusion among Sixers staff.

Doc Rivers: Maxey ‘Can’t Relax for a Week’

Head coach Doc Rivers spoke on Maxey’s worth ethic earlier this summer on an episode of Vince Carter’s The VC Show with Vince Carter.

“His work ethic, Vince, is beyond belief,” Rivers said. “I mean many times, already this summer at least two or three times, we’ve had to tell him to go sit down somewhere and go relax.

Rivers also described Maxey asking advice on “vacationing.”

“. . .[T]his is the first vacation [Maxey’s] ever been on in his life is what he told us and I was like, ‘Wait, what?‘ he said ‘No, I’ve never been on vacation’ and he asked Spencer, ‘What do you do on vacation?’ True question like ‘What do you do on vacation?’ And Spence was like, ‘You relax.’ And he’s like, ‘For how long? For how many days? I mean, we’re going through a week. I can’t relax for a week.’”

It’s that level of dedication that should have Sixers fans thrilled in their young player. Especially when contrasted to young guys of the past like Ben Simmons, whose love for the game has come under question before.

In Maxey, there are none of those same concerns. And if everything goes to plan, Maxey should be an integral part of one of the East’s best teams next season.

Tyrese Maxey took his FIRST VACATION in his life! 😂 🏝 | The VC ShowOn The VC Show, Doc Rivers talks about what life is like in the offseason as an NBA coach and shares his thoughts on Tyrese Maxey’s work ethic. #ESPN #NBAonESPN #TheVCShow ✔️Subscribe to ESPN+ espnplus.com/youtube ✔️ Get the ESPN App: espn.com/espn/apps/espn ✔️Subscribe to ESPN on YouTube: es.pn/SUBSCRIBEtoYOUTUBE ✔️ Subscribe to NBA on ESPN on YouTube:…2022-08-04T02:00:10Z
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