The Philadelphia 76ers‘ quest to build out a championship squad consisted of one real strategy over the last decade: accumulate high draft picks and put together a young, blue-chip-heavy contender.
Otherwise known as The Process.
But for all the Ben Simmonses, Jahlil Okafors, Nerlens Noels, and Markelle Fultzes, the only “tank it ’til we make it” top pick left is Joel Embiid.
Nonetheless, the Sixers managed to hit on a few later picks. Matisse Thybulle, for instance, is a defensive ace and solid contributor despite a lack of offensive progression. Furkan Korkmaz, for his streaky play, has found a way to stick around on the Sixers’ bench.
But none of those late first-round picks compares to Tyrese Maxey. The former Kentucky Wildcat soared in his second season in the league, finishing third on the team in points per 36 minutes (17.8). And that’s without mentioning his 400 kilowatt connection to the Sixers fans.
Yet for all his heroics, Maxey found himself discussed in potential trade discussions this summer. When the Sixers were rumored to be in on Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, it was widely accepted that Maxey would necessarily be included in any deal.
But with Durant remaining in Brooklyn, the Sixers took a moment to shine a spotlight on their young star.
“giving the people what they want,” the Sixers tweeted along with a clip of Maxey blocking Miami’s Caleb Martin at the rim.
Maxey Sounds off on Trade Speculation
With the Sixers throwing their weight behind behind Maxey, the player himself took a moment to reflect on his name being thrown around in trade rumors.
On August 23, Maxey sat down with the Philadelphia Phillies broadcast team while the ball club took on the Cincinnati Reds. And naturally, John Kruk and Ruben Amaro, two Phillies broadcasters, brought up the potential for a trade. Maxey was unfazed.
Kruk: It’s fascinating how quickly this young man has become a fan favorite. I mean it was rapid. And rightly so.
Ruben Amaro: I mean how about all the people when his name is popping up on trade stuff they’re going nuts. there’s no way, they can trade anybody except Maxey.
Maxey: I love, I appreciate it, I appreciate it, man. It’s all love for the city, man. I just go out there and try to be the best I can for the city every single night.
What’s Next for Maxey This Season?
Maxey lit up the opposition last season, evolving into a nice bench sparkplug into a bona fide starting guard. It’s left fans wondering what’s next from the youngster.
Back in May, Frank Jackson of Liberty Ballers took a look at areas Maxey could stand to improve in.
“Defensive discipline, on-ball technique and passing versatility are his avenues for further development,” Jackson explained. “Independent of these facets, he’ll presumably be an even better scorer next year. Adding lanes to demand more on-ball touches and be a bankable difference-maker defensively trudge on as vital. Maybe, he also targets off-movement shooting to foster another leap.”
If Maxey does indeed add a defensive element to his game, the Sixers might be well on their way towards advancing past of the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2001.