Tyrese Maxey Ready to Step up in the Here and Now for Sixers

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

The Philadelphia 76ers have tried and failed for years to pair superstar big man Joel Embiid with a point guard with the right combination of passing and scoring ability. First it was the Markelle Fultz fiasco, then it was the Ben Simmons debacle and now, at long last, they might have found the perfect player.

Tyrese Maxey stepped into the point guard role in his sophomore season and flourished. He is averaging 16.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game for the Sixers. More importantly, he is turning the ball over only 1.2 times per game despite playing in over 35 minutes per contest.

He is still a work in progress considering it is only his second year, but his ceiling is sky high considering what he is doing in the here and now. With all the Simmons drama going on, it allowed Maxey the opportunity to step into the starting point guard role and show what he is capable of.

Take a look at the team's recent win over the red-hot Memphis Grizzlies. The Sixers were without Embiid and Maxey stepped up in a big way, leading the charge in one of the team's best wins of the season. He scored 33 points on 13-of-23 shooting, and he proved he could get to his spots anywhere on the floor. The highlight clip below shows him scoring at times by attacking the basket or by hitting some threes with confidence.

He is also much more than just a scorer. He dished out eight assists and got a career-high four blocks in the win over the Grizzlies. He is constantly learning and improving his ability as a passer as well as when to be aggressive and push the pace and when to slow things down and play through Embiid.

He has played a key role in the team's success this season, pairing with Embiid to form a good one-two punch. He has arguably surpassed Tobias Harris in the team's pecking order behind Embiid.

One of the biggest areas of improvement to his game is his three-point shooting ability. He put the work in throughout the offseason, resulting in a drastic jump in his outside shooting ability. He went from making 30.1 percent of his threes on 1.7 attempts per game as a rookie to knocking down 40.4 percent on 3.5 attempts per game.

He can score in a variety of ways, but adding the ability to hit threes at a high rate is something that has taken his scoring abilities to the next level. In his second season, he already added the ability to nail step-back threes with confidence.

He also is a solid catch-and-shoot player, knocking down 41.5 percent of his threes off the catch this season. His improved outside shooting is lethal when combined with his ability to get to the basket.

A lot of people are clamoring for the team to trade Simmons before the deadline. The team's ability to potentially stay pat and be patient with the trade market has increased due to Maxey's performance this season.

Over the last seven games, he has stepped it up and is starting to find a rhythm with Embiid. He is averaging 18.4 points (46.7 percent from the field and 41.4 percent from three-point range), 4.1 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 1.7 turnovers in a ridiculous 40.3 minutes per game.

The Sixers have been through years of turmoil or underperforming players at the point guard spot, but Maxey's play for the Sixers might be enough to erase all the pain and failure from that position over the past five or six years. The brightest positive, outside of Embiid's MVP performances on a nightly basis, from the Sixers this season is that Maxey has proven he is ready to step up for the team in the here and now.

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