There is no shortage of heroes in the history of the Philadelphia 76ers. Between old-school legends like Wilt Chamberlain, Dr. J, Charles Barkley, and Moses Malone to newer era studs like Allen Iverson and (briefly) Andre Igoudala, the City of Brotherly Love has seen its fair share of hardwood greats.
A few more names might join that legion from the current crop of Sixers. Joel Embiid is on a Philadelphia sports Mt. Rushmore trajectory if he adds an MVP and championship to his already loaded resume. James Harden lacks the time spent in Philadelphia to say the same as Embiid but is a future Hall of Famer nonetheless.
And then there’s Tyrese Maxey. Could he be the best home-grown guard to throw on a Sixers uni since Iverson? It’s certainly possible. Ben Simmons was supposed to be that before ultimately flaming out two seasons ago.
Maxey is undersized, smooth, scrappy, and is building a rapport with the fans. He has a ways to go before catching Iverson in any stat-competition, but has plenty of time to rise to the challenge. And recently, Maxey was spotted in the gym with the the Sixers legend. Well, sort of, anyways.
“always putting in the work,” the Sixers tweeted, along with two photographs of Maxey in the gym. One of the photos features a jacked Maxey walking in front of an Iverson mural.
Maxey was selected well outside the lottery back in 2020, while Iverson was taken with the No. 1 pick in 1996. But given a re-do, Maxey might share draft-night status with Iverson.
Maxey Would Go No. 5 in 2020 Re-Draft
Earlier in September, Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey conducted a re-draft of the 2020 class. There was some serious volatility at the top, with former top pick Anthony Edwards sliding to the second spot in favor of Lamelo Ball, Tyrese Haliburton slotting into the No. 3 pick after initially going 12th, and Desmond Bane coming in at No. 4 after being the last pick of the first round that year.
Adding to the chaos was Tyrese Maxey. Initially selected 21st, Bailey had Maxey going fifth in his do-over.
“Even on a team with James Harden and Tobias Harris, there were plenty of stretches when Maxey felt like the rightful second option behind Joel Embiid,” Bailey wrote. “His numbers skyrocketed across the board to 17.5 points, 4.3 assists and 1.8 threes per game, with a 42.7 three-point percentage.”
It’s no question Maxey took a huge leap last season. He entered 2021 as a nice bench-unit sparkplug but finished the season as Philadelphia’s third-best option, clearly leapfrogging Tobias Harris.
After showcasing special talent last season, the question now becomes where Maxey goes from here. According to one insider, an All-Star nod isn’t out of the question.
76ers Could Have Four All-Stars Next Season
Last season, the Golden State Warriors sent three All-Stars to the midseason competition. And by the looks of it, next season’s Sixers could accomplish a similar task by sending Embiid, Harden, and Maxey to the All-Star Game.
But according to Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley, the Sixers could well add a fourth to the mix: Tobias Harris. The last team to send four players to an All-Star Game was, coincidentally, the 2018 Warriors, who sent Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green.
The only thing more shocking than Maxey earning his first All-Star nod would be Harris, though. The forward has never earned an All-Star nomination in the past and has rarely been considered truly in contention for a spot.
Nonetheless, if Philadelphia jumps out to a strong start, Harris could be seen as a key reason why. And hey, if Mike Conley earned a nomination after 14 seasons, why can’t Harris?