The Philadelphia 76ers won’t have to look far to find a replacement point guard. The team already has an in-house candidate in mind, a name that shouldn’t be too surprising to anyone following the Ben Simmons’s drama. The two even share the same sports agent.
Tyrese Maxey is the young point guard of the future and it appears he may get his shot sooner than expected. Simmons predictably didn’t show up for Sixers’ Media Day on Monday (Sept. 27) despite pleas from the organization for him to return. Head coach Doc Rivers wants him back. Team president Daryl Morey expects him to walk through the door. Stay tuned on how that all plays out. In the meantime, Rivers was asked if he knew which player would take Simmons’ spot in the starting five.
“Yeah, yeah, I do know,” Rivers said.
Okay, great, who is it?
“I think you’ll figure it out,” Rivers said. “I don’t think that’s hard, really.”
Rivers wouldn’t call Maxey the new point guard, but reading between the lines it’s pretty clear. The second-year player out of Kentucky earned valuable minutes in last year’s playoff run, then hit the gym and worked on his game all offseason. His jumper looks improved. His handle looks ridiculous. His defense? Well, that’s the next step.
“I like him. His next step, for me, is defensively,” Rivers said. “I’m telling you that kid works and it’s rare you see a guy with the talent that he has. Raw talent. And the work that he puts in, it’s rare that doesn’t turn into success. High character. He just has all the ingredients in my opinion to turn out to be a heck of a basketball player.”
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Maxey Denies Weird Trade Request
Sixers fans were caught off-guard back on Sept. 1 when a weird report claimed that Maxey was going to be included in a potential Simmons’ trade. Rich Paul of Klutch Sports (via Jason Dumas) wanted both of his clients out of Philly. That kind of collusion could have forced NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to step in.
Nothing came of it and Maxey laughed off the rumor as false at Sixers’ Media Day. He has no interest in leaving the Sixers.
“That wasn’t true, I don’t know where that came from,” Maxey said. “It was funny, me and Rich were sitting there laughing at it. I love being here, I love this city, it’s great, I can’t wait to get started.”
Maxey was a viral sensation all summer due to his insane workout videos (see: Allen Iverson vibes). And his hard work may soon pay off in a starting job.
“My objective was to get one percent better every day,” Maxey said, “and that just didn’t have to do with basketball, on the court. That had to do with preparing my mind for games, preparing my mind for situations. One thing I tried to grow in this summer was film and being prepared, preparation for what offenses were going to run against us and what defenses, what we were going to do to stop other guys. So I think that’s one thing, I’ve been really preparing my mind.”
The 20-year-old also worked on his jumper. Imagine that.
“Shooting, in general, is something that everybody works on every day,” Maxey said. “Just trying to get more consistent and having more confidence and things like that.”
Movie Star in the Making?
The internet went bonkers in late August when a slew of Sixers players was spotted filming a movie with Adam Sandler in South Philly. Maxey — alongside Tobias Harris, Seth Curry, Matisse Thybulle, head coach Doc Rivers — all have bit parts in the movie “Hustle.” No release date has been set for the Netflix film.
The Texas native briefly touched on the experience of being on a movie set and meeting a Hollywood star like Sandler.
“It was a blast,” Maxey said. “It makes you respect movie stars and all the work they put in. Reminded me of basketball.”