Few players have risen to stardom and captured the hearts of fans in the way Tyrese Maxey has. The 21-year-old has gone from an afterthought in the rotation to a building block of the future in the span of just two seasons. In addition to his impressive on-court performance, Maxey’s bubbling personality and hard-working nature have endeared him to Philadelphia fans at a rapid rate. At the Sixers’ 2022 media day, he was asked about why he thought this was the case. Maxey showed exactly why he has been a seamless fit in the city in his answer and as he put it when speaking with reporters:
“I think it’s the work ethic. You know, the City of Philadelphia is such a blue-collar city and it’s like everybody here that goes to the games or that I see around town, they work extremely hard for what they have- like extremely hard for what they have. So when you work hard for what you have, you really cherish it. And I really believe that because I worked extremely hard to get where I am today. Nothing was given to them, nothing was given to me. You know, I went out and took everything I got. I never had any handouts” -Tyrese Maxey
Tyrese Maxey’s Rise
There was a buzz surrounding Maxey from the moment the Sixers selected him with the 21st pick in the 2020 draft. The Kentucky product had a successful rookie season but saw limited opportunities. In his 15.3 minutes per game, he averaged 8.0 points, 2.0 assists, and 1.7 rebounds per game while connecting on 30.1% of his three-point attempts.
In his second season in the NBA, he took one of the most impressive leaps in the modern NBA. With Ben Simmons holding out, it opened up the chance for Maxey to receive extended minutes and he ran with this opportunity. He averaged 17.5 points, 4.3 assists, and 3.2 rebounds in his 35.3 minutes per game. He also improved greatly as a three-point shooter by knocking down 42.7% of his long-range attempts which was the third-best percentage in the NBA. Maxey proved to be capable of handling much more than was expected and proved to be vital to keeping the team on the right track prior to James Harden’s arrival.
It is beyond just the on-court play that has endeared Maxey to the Philadelphia faithful. He put on a show by playing in the Danny Rumph Classic this summer at La Salle University and has been active in the community overall. Maxey also made his rounds to the other Philly teams as a spectator including taking part in a Phillies broadcast and banging on the drums at a Philadelphia Union game.
What’s Next for Maxey
As the Sixers set their sights on contending for an NBA championship, Maxey is sure to play a key role. The trio of Joel Embiid, Harden, and Maxey showed impressive flashes last season and appear to fit well alongside each other. Harden only played 21 regular season games with the Sixers last season and many members of the team have talked about their excitement to see what can happen over a full season.
While he has yet to take the court to show the new layers he has added to his game, his growth in confidence may be the biggest factor in his 2022-23 success. Maxey has been looking to prove himself through his first two seasons in the NBA, but now has found his role. It was clear with how he interacted during media day that he now knows he belongs and this is a great sign. It will soon be seen what is in store for Maxey’s third season, but if one thing is certain- the city of Philadelphia will be behind him no matter what.