Last summer, the Philadelphia 76ers were in an awkward position. Ben Simmons wanted out, but the team lacked any playmakers even remotely close to what the All-Star produced on a nightly basis.
Throughout the winter, rumors swirled that guards like Tyrese Haliburton and De’Aaron Fox could be had in a Simmons swap. In theory, the two players would have put at least a band-aid on the playmaking drought created in Simmons’ absence.
But rather than needing to look outside to improve, it turns out that Philadelphia’s answer to a Ben Simmons-sized hole was already on the roster. Well, sort of. Yes, the team got a huge playmaking boost by trading Simmons for James Harden. But Philadelphia also benefitted from the meteoric rise of Tyrese Maxey.
In his sophomore season, Maxey took a major leap forward. The former Kentucky Wildcat increased his point total from 8.0 per night to 17.5, while also seeing his assists numbers double, going from two helps per game as a rookie to 4.3 last season.
Simmons, meanwhile, didn’t play a single game of NBA basketball. Even after packing his bags for Brooklyn, Simmons missed time with a lingering back issue.
Those two divergent paths are likely why Maxey’s 2K rating leapfrogged Simmons’ for the upcoming season. Maxey earned a rating of 85, while Simmons slumped down to 83, with an atrocious 58 three-point shooting rating.
Maxey’s Numbers Ballooned While Simmons’ Rating Sank
Last season, Maxey was rated 76 by the gaming platform. Given the fact he was a late first-round pick, the number isn’t that surprising. It also highlights Maxey’s role heading into last season — far from a starting stud, Maxey was more of a bench-relegated sparkplug.
But Maxey elevated his rating by nine points, thanks to the mega leap he took last season for the Sixers. But that leap likely wouldn’t have happened had Simmons not bowed out. The roster hole opened a spot and Maxey willingly snatched it and made it his own.
While Maxey’s star is very much on the rise, Simmons’ rating also underscores how the basketball world sees him. After taking a year off, Simmons’ 2023 rating of 83 is one point lower than last season’s (84), and a full four points lower than his 2020-21 rating of 87.
The serious tumble underscores Simmons’ current place in the NBA. Back in 2020, he was still seen as a vital piece to the Sixers’ championship core. But after demanding a trade, failing to develop any outside jump shot, and suffering questions about his love for the game, his once-promising future is in doubt.
A Look Around the Sixers’ 2K Roster
Overall, the Sixers boast one of 2K’s more well-rounded rosters. Philadelphia is listed as a “Tier 1 Team” on the gaming platform, along with the Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat, Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Denver Nuggets, Brooklyn Nets, and Boston Celtics.
Philadelphia’s overall rating of 83 also only trails the Boston Celtics (84) for the top in the game. Their top-five overall players each have a rating of 80 or higher, with key depth pieces in PJ Tucker, Montrezl Harrell, and Matisse Thybulle all rated 77 or higher.
But the cream of the crop is Joel Embiid, who was rated 96 by 2K, trailing only Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo for the game’s highest rating.