Sixers Exercise Options on 2 Promising Young Guards


Getty Ben Simmons, Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle of the Philadelphia 76ers during a game in January.

Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle can keep their 215 area codes for the foreseeable future. The Philadelphia 76ers exercised the team options on both youngsters as the franchise keeps an eye on the future. They take effect for the 2022-23 season.

Thybulle, the 20th overall pick in 2019, has quickly developed into a foundational piece due to his tenacity on the defensive end. The 24-year-old became the only player in NBA history to record 100 steals and 70 blocks in less than 1,300 minutes played. He finished 12th in Defensive Player of the Year voting last season while averaging 1.6 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. His 209 career steals rank sixth in the league since 2019.

Thybulle has averaged 4.3 points and 1.8 rebounds in 135 games (22 starts). He has been anchoring the Sixers’ second unit this season alongside Furkan Korkmaz, Andre Drummond, Georges Niang, Shake Milton. The Washington product signed a four-year rookie deal valued at $12.5 million (via Spotrac).

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Future Franchise Point Guard

Maxey, the 21st overall pick in 2020, has taken over the starting point guard duties with Ben Simmons out. Coming off arguably his best game so far – 16 points, six assists (+19) versus Detroit – the Sixers rewarded him by picking up his third-year option. Maxey inked a four-year rookie deal valued at $12.1 million (per Spotrac). The Kentucky product is on the fast track to success under Doc Rivers’ tutelage.

He posted a career-high 39 points last season against Denver and became the first rookie since 2019 to register at least 35 points, five assists, five rebounds in a single game. Maxey has averaged 8.5 points and 2.1 assists in 66 career games (13 starts) while shooting 46.1% from the field. He could be the franchise’s future point guard, depending on how the Simmons’ situation turns out.

“At the end of the day it’s a work in progress,” Maxey said of his development. “It’s getting a lot better. And the coaching staff and my teammates have been great. They’ve been helping me, they’ve been patient, they’ve been critiquing, they’ve been hard on me. I really appreciate them.”

Sixers Coach ‘Work in Progress’

Rivers hasn’t enjoyed the way the Sixers have looked in their last two games. Turnovers were critical in both contests – 35 combined giveaways – and nearly cost them the home victory against the Pistons. Prior to that, the Sixers were blown out by the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

Neither effort was good enough. Rivers called the team a “work in progress” and vowed to clean up the turnovers in transition.

“Those are the things that we have to fix because that’s a passing problem,” Rivers said, “and so we have to improve in that area as a whole unit. Twenty turnovers [versus Detroit]? It’s hard to win a game when you have that many turnovers.”

Maxey took the blame for some of it after the game. He accounted for four turnovers in that one.

“First and foremost too many turnovers,” Maxey said. “Turned the ball over too much, especially can’t turn the ball over in the fourth quarter. That ignited their little run so got to fix that.”

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