Monday, October 3, 2022

Sixers star Tyrese Maxey’s strong season questioned by expert

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Tyrese Maxey saw his star explode last season for the Philadelphia 76ers. The former Kentucky Wildcat has proven he’s worth far more than the late first-round pick the Sixers gave him two summers ago.

The Guardian stepped right into the void left by Ben Simmons after his decision to sit outside and thrived. In his first season as a starter, he averaged 17.5 points per game and 4.3 assists. With his second season under his belt, Maxey’s star should continue to rise, including a trip to the All-Star Game next season.

But most of all, it was Maxey’s three-point shooting that had fans and analysts mouth-watering. Maxey hit 42.7% of his triples during the regular season, a number that only dipped slightly to 37.7% during the playoffs. If he can maintain those numbers next season, the Sixers should have a much broader and more balanced lineup than when Simmons played in Philadelphia.

But can Maxey maintain those firing rates? This question was asked by Rich Hofmann the athlete on 09/19

While Maxey’s make rate was staggering from beyond the arc, Hofmann pointed out that Maxey could do well to increase the number of three-pointers he attempts per game.

“The next step is extra volume: Maxey only went from 4.0 to 4.2 attempts per 36 minutes in his sophomore season. For someone with his shot creation, that’s not enough. Consistent bombing is not a matter of course for him, but it is important,” wrote Hofmann.

Around 4.2 threes a night isn’t enough if Maxey wants to continue to develop into a star. He doesn’t necessarily need to match Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry’s 12.2 threes per 36 minutes, but there are plenty of other role models he can rely on. Increasing that number to about seven attempts per 36 minutes, Maxey would total roughly the same volume as Tyler Herro and Devin Booker.

Maxey’s percentage could drop as a result, but if he can keep that rate at around 38.5%, he’ll still perform at a potential All-Star level. That goes double if Maxey can add a bit more playmaking to his game next season, which Hofmann also addressed.

James Harden was set to be used as Philadelphia’s best assistant next season. The former MVP averaged 10.5 assists per game with the Sixers last season to take the lead. But if Harden takes a breather, Maxey will likely be the lead playmaker for the Sixers.

“When he’s grounded with the starters, Maxey plays a hybrid role, outplaying Embiid and Harden and scoring,” Hofmann wrote. “If Harden goes to the bench, that changes. The likely scenario is that Maxey will be playing on bench units with Embiid when he’s hired to headline the show. The Sixers offensive numbers last season on the Maxey-Embiid bench units were good but not elite.”

Maxey averaged 4.4 assists per 36 minutes last season. It’s a decent number, but one that, like its volume, needs to increase. While Maxey could be an ideal player for his shooting alongside Embiid (see: JJ Redick and Seth Curry for recent parallels), Maxey’s relative inexperience as a playmaker leaves room for growth.

The Sixers have dynamic bench players in De’Anthony Melton, Montrezl Harrell, Matisse Thybulle, Georges Niang and Daniel House. But someone has to support these guys next season. If Harden is on the bench, it has to be Maxey.

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