If the slump that second-year guard Tyrese Maxey finds himself in winds up lasting for any length of time, the Sixers could be in some trouble. Philadelphia is in the midst of one of the toughest stretches of its NBA schedule, which means that Maxey will be getting some massive challenges in the coming weeks—the teams he and the Sixers will face are all loaded with top point guards, most of whom have been outplaying the breakout 21-year-old recently.
In his last six games, Maxey has averaged 14.0 points and shot only 31.0% from the field. He is making only 13.3% of his 3-pointers in that span. The point guards he has played against in those six games, meanwhile, have averaged 21.8 points on 44.9% shooting.
The list of point guards over that stretch is impressive: De’Aaron Fox, Stephen Curry, D’Angelo Russell, Jalen Suggs, Marcus Smart and Trae Young. Fox is the only one on the list that Maxey outscored, though he had 24 points on 22 shots on the night, going 8-for-22 from the field. Fox had 23 points on 7-for-15 shooting.
Smart, the weakest point guard of the group, finished with six points in his matchup with Maxey, who also finished with six.
Maxey Not Blaming Role Change for Slump
Maxey has not done much different over the course of his shooting slump, he said, nor should his wayward jumper be blamed on his ever-changing role next to Sixers star Joel Embiid.
“It’s nothing about a different role,” Maxey said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I think everybody goes through stuff, missed shots. You don’t let it get to you. You are a professional at the end of the day. You will work on your game, and it will come to you. As of right now, what I try to do is help my team win. My shot is not falling, so I try to create big plays for others, play good defense, rebound, and be the best teammate.”
Maxey has, it should be noted, averaged 5.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds during the last six games.
The shooting woes could be a case of Maxey simply swinging back toward his normal averages after an especially hot start to the season. Maxey shot 52.4% from the field and 42.1% from the 3-point line in his first 17 games, averaging 18.4 points. It is not surprising that Maxey increased his numbers after his rookie year (46.2% from the field, 30.1% from the 3-point line), but the hot start was always going to be unsustainable.
Long List of Tough Point Guards Ahead for Maxey
Maxey also told reporters that there was nothing physically bothering him, and he was not especially tired.
“My body feels pretty good,” Maxey said. “We have a pretty good medical staff. They’ve been on me about treatment and different things like that. So I’ve spent a lot of time with them and kind of getting my mind fresh and my body fresh as well.”
The Sixers have to hope that is the case going forward. Maxey has some serious challenges ahead as Philly prepares for seven straight games against teams with winning records—all with excellent point guards. That starts with LaMelo Ball (twice) for Charlotte, followed by Mike Conley of the Jazz, Steph Curry of the Warriors, Ja Morant of the Grizzlies, Kyle Lowry of the Heat and James Harden of the Nets.
Sixers coach Doc Rivers, who does not have many other options, expressed confidence in Maxey.
“Overall, he’s been great,” Rivers said. “Defensively, he’s been getting better. He’s a sponge. He listens, a lot of positive traits that you love.”