Heading into game 4, the Philadelphia 76ers find themselves with a chance to sweep the Toronto Raptors. Thanks to some late-game heroics from Joel Embiid, Nick Nurse and company are feeling a strong sense of defeat while being on the brink of elimination.
While Embiid and Harden have led the charge for the Sixers, it’s the guys around them who have been the difference-makers. With Toronto’s defense fully committed to slowing down the pair of All-Stars, it’s created an array of easy scoring opportunities for Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris. The two have taken full advantage and continue to thrive early in Philly’s postseason run.
Maxey stepped up in a huge way for the Sixers this season, in more ways than one. Playing alongside Harden has fully un-tapped the 21-year-old’s scoring potential. In the playoffs, Maxey is averaging 26.7 points per game while shooting an absurd 60% from the floor. He is, without a doubt, the team’s biggest X-factor as they look to fulfill their championship aspirations.
This strong play to open the playoffs has caught the eye of some national media. Former Sixer JJ Redick was on ESPN’s ‘First Take’ earlier this week and raved about the second-year guard.
He has emerged in this season, but specifically in these first two games as a legitimate star. He is a phenomenal basketball player and is fun to watch… Love watching him score the basketball.
Tyrese Maxey Turning Heads Everywhere
Dating back to last season, many who watched the Sixers regularly knew Maxey had this sort of potential in him. Along with being an extremely hard worker, his humble nature makes him an easy player to coach. Now with a full-time role on the big stage, everyone is watching Maxey turn into one of the league’s brightest young talents.
Maxey kicked off the playoffs in tremendous fashion by dropping 38 points and knocking down five threes. This showing caught the eye of Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who took to Twitter to show some appreciation.
There is no moment too big for Maxey, a rare thing to say for a player in just their second year. Because he trusts the work he puts in behind the scenes, Maxey never gets caught up in big games or situations.
Tyrese Maxey Getting Much-Deserves Recognition
It has been a rollercoaster ride of a year for Maxey, and he’s handled each transition with grace. Between being the Sixers’ full-time point guard to moving off the ball upon Harden’s arrival, his game has adapted multiple times.
Despite his situation constantly changing, Maxey saw a huge bump in production this season. He managed to double his points (17.5), rebounds (3.2), and assists (4.3) per game averages from his rookie campaign.
With this drastic increase, many felt Maxey had a case to be in the running for the Most Improved Player award. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor recently stated on his podcast ‘The Mismatch’ that he voted for Maxey with his first-place vote.
Here we are with the Warriors where they have a young, 22-year-old player on the up-and-up who averaged 25 points over his last 20 games of the season. And should have been a finalist in the top three for Most Improved Player, second on my ballot behind Tyrese Maxey. I don’t know how either of those guys didn’t make it.
While he might not have been named a finalist for Most Improved Player, it’s good to see Maxey get the recognition he deserves on a league-wide scale. There is no denying he has all the intangibles to be a star in this league for years to come.