Tyrese Maxey saw his star explode last season for the Philadelphia 76ers. The former Kentucky Wildcat proved he was worth far more than the late first-round pick that the Sixers spent on him just two summers ago.
The guard stepped right into the void left by Ben Simmons after his decision to sit out and blossomed. He churned out 17.5 points per game along with 4.3 assists in his first season as a starter. With his sophomore season now under his belt, Maxey’s star should continue to rise, including earning a trip to the All-Star game next season.
But above all else, it was Maxey’s three-point shooting that left fans and analysts salivating. Maxey connected on 42.7% of his triples during the regular season, a figure that dipped just a touch to 37.7% during the playoffs. If he can sustain those numbers next season, the Sixers should have a far more spaced and balanced lineup than when Simmons played in Philadelphia.
But can Maxey keep up those shooting rates? That question was posed by Rich Hofmann of The Athletic on September 19.
Maxey Needs to Add Volume to His Shooting
While Maxey’s make-rate from beyond the arc was staggering, Hofmann pointed out that Maxey could do well to boost the number of threes he attempts per game.
“The next step is added volume: Maxey only went from 4.0 to 4.2 attempts per 36 minutes in his sophomore season. For someone with his shot creation, that is not enough. Consistently bombing away does not come naturally to him, but it’s important,” Hofmann wrote.
Roughly 4.2 threes per night won’t cut it if Maxey wants to continue developing into a star. He doesn’t necessarily need to hit Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry’s 12.2 threes per 36 minutes, but there are plenty of other role models he can look to. Bumping that figure up to around seven attempts per 36 minutes would put Maxey around the same volume totals as Tyler Herro and Devin Booker.
Maxey’s percentage might dip as a result, but if he can keep that rate hovering around 38.5%, he’ll still be performing at a potentially All-Star level. That’s doubly true if Maxey can add a bit more playmaking to his game next season, which Hofmann also touched on.
Maxey Will Likely Be the Lead Playmaker for Bench Unit
James Harden should slot in as Philadelphia’s top assist-man next season. The former MVP notched 10.5 assists per game with the Sixers last season to lead the way. But when Harden takes a breather, Maxey will likely be the lead playmaker for the Sixers.
“When he’s on the floor with the starters, Maxey is in a hybrid role, playing off Embiid and Harden and scoring,” Hofmann wrote. “When Harden goes to the bench, that changes. The likely scenario is that Maxey will play with Embiid on bench units when he will be tasked to run the show. The Sixers’ offensive numbers last season on Maxey-Embiid bench units were good, but not elite.”
Maxey averaged 4.4 assists per 36 minutes last season. It’s a decent figure, but one that, like his volume, must increase. While Maxey might be an ideal player alongside Embiid for his shooting (see: JJ Redick and Seth Curry as recent parallels), Maxey’s relative inexperience as a playmaker leaves room for growth.
The Sixers have dynamic bench players in De’Anthony Melton, Montrezl Harrell, Matisse Thybulle, Georges Niang, and Danuel House. But someone will have to facilitate for those guys next season. When Harden is on the bench, it has to be Maxey.