Back on draft night 2020, the Philadelphia 76ers were seen as a big winner after picking up one of the biggest steals. Despite being projected to go in the lottery, Tyrese Maxey fell all the way to the 21st pick.
Maxey played sparingly as a rookie but burst on the scene last season. With a glaring hole in his starting lineup due to Ben Simmons’ absence, Doc Rivers called on the 21-year-old to be a full-time starter. The young guard went on to average 17.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 4.3 APG.
The main thing people bring up when discussing Maxey is his work ethic. He is regularly spotted in the gym, always trying to improve different areas of his game. One person this has left a lasting impression on is Rivers.
As a former player and longtime coach, Rivers has been around more than his fair share of players. However, Maxey has managed to separate himself from the bunch in a huge way. During a recent interview with Vince Carter, he went as far as to say he’s the most impressive young player he’s ever seen.
He’s the most impressive young player I’ve ever had in 21 years of coaching. So that’s how impressive he is. His work ethic is beyond belief. Many times this summer, already two or three times, we’ve had to tell him to go sit down somewhere and go relax.
Doc Rivers Believes Joel Embiid Will Come Back Better in 2023
Since Doc Rivers took over as head coach of the Sixers, Joel Embiid has firmly cemented himself as one of the game’s top performers. Last season he posted career-highs in both points (30.6) and assists (4.2) per game and was the first center since Shaq in 2000 to win the NBA’s scoring title.
Later in the interview with Carter, Rivers was asked what more Embiid has to do to secure the MVP trophy after finishing second the past two years. It was there the future Hall of Fame coach stated that he feels the All-Star center might improve even more next season.
When I took this job two years ago, he needed to be in better condition. He needed to do some things, and he’s done them. Our first year, he took a huge jump. Then last year, he took an even bigger jump. I think he’s gonna take a bigger jump this year. I think he’s outworking what he did the first two years.
James Harden Working Out With Young Sixers Big Man
One of the biggest names in all of the NBA this offseason is James Harden. After declining his $47 million player option, the former MVP signed a two-year deal at a much cheaper price. Harden’s primary goal is winning, and he took the pay cut to give Daryl Morey more flexibility to bolster the supporting cast.
Along with taking less money, the All-Star guard vowed to get himself back into elite shape this summer. Similar to Maxey, there have been countless workout videos of Harden getting ready for his first full season in Philly. In a recent clip, he was seen playing alongside Sixers big man Charles Bassey.
Unless they explore veteran options, this could be a sign of things to come. Heading into training camp, Bassey and Paul Reed are expected to compete for the backup center spot behind Joel Embiid.