Joel Embiid has not been the only bright spot for the Philadelphia 76ers this season. The play of Tyrese Maxey continues to shine bright for the Sixers this season. He has made a ton of improvements to his game and should be a candidate for the Most Improved Player award.
Maxey is taking on a much bigger role this season, playing 34.8 minutes per game and stepping into the full-time starting point guard position. He is flourishing, averaging 16.8 points and 4.4 assists while turning the ball over only 1.2 times per game. His passing numbers are impressive considering he is more naturally an off-ball guard, but the Sixers have been forced to rely on him to learn the point guard position due to Ben Simmons refusing to play this season.
He showcased much of his improved abilities in the win over the Boston Celtics on Friday, finishing with 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting. He also nailed five of his seven attempts from beyond the arc, tying his career-high in made threes. It was one of his best games from 3-point range this season.
Most players excel only at making threes in catch-and-shoot situations. Maxey has vastly improved his ability to make pull-up threes, improving his percentage on those shots from 25.7 percent as a rookie to 40.4 percent this season.
Not only has his 3-point percentage gone up, he is also taking double the amount of threes per game as he becomes more confident out on the floor.
"I just try to shoot every day," Maxey said. "Shoot when I’m open now. Everyone’s been on me about pump faking, running into floaters, shooting contested twos instead of trusting my work. So I just want to keep shooting when I’m open and try to make plays for others, as well."
In addition to his improved ability to shoot from deep, Maxey continues to grow and display his ability to drive to the basket.
Rese right to the rack! pic.twitter.com/XCwODRqQhx— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) January 15, 2022
He takes most of his shots, 45.0 percent of them, from inside 10 feet from the basket. He uses both his floater and crafty finishing abilities to be able to excel playing around the rim. He is shooting 54.6 percent on shots inside of 10 feet. He makes crafty plays like the reverse layup below nearly every game.
Maxey making magic. 🪄 pic.twitter.com/TEaQk7ayxZ— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) January 15, 2022
Maxey has such a huge ability to finesse his way around the basket for a second-year player. His combination of finishing ability and improved shooting from beyond the arc help him become more of a complete player who has the ability to score from anywhere on the court.
Maxey plays with a level of swag out on the court as well. He plays with a ton of confidence, which is important considering he is stepping into a new position for a team with championship aspirations. To have the level of success he is having while being a second-year player taking on a new role should lead to him being a prime candidate for the Most Improved Player award.