There is no shortage of heroes in the history of the Philadelphia 76ers. From old-school legends like Wilt Chamberlain, Dr. J, Charles Barkley and Moses Malone to more recent-era studs like Allen Iverson and (briefly) Andre Igoudala, the city of brotherly love has seen its fair share of hardwood greats.
A few more names could join this legion from the current crop of Sixers. Joel Embiid is on his way to Mt. Rushmore in Philadelphia when he adds an MVP and championship to his already loaded resume. James Harden lacks the time he spent in Philadelphia to say the same as Embiid, but he’s a future Hall of Famer nonetheless.
And then there’s Tyrese Maxey. Could he be the best homegrown guard to be thrown at a Sixers varsity since Iverson? It’s certainly possible. Ben Simmons was meant to be before he finally flared up two seasons ago.
Maxey is undersized, slick, scratchy and builds a rapport with fans. He still has a long way to go before catching Iverson in a statistics contest, but he has plenty of time to rise to the challenge. And recently, Maxey was spotted at the gym with the Sixers legend. Well, somehow.
“always invest in the work” the Sixers tweeted, along with two photos of Maxey at the gym. One of the photos shows a jacked-up Maxey walking in front of an Iverson mural.
Maxey was picked well outside the lottery in 2020, while Iverson was picked No. 1 in 1996. But if it were repeated, Maxey could share draft night status with Iverson.
In early September, Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey conducted a Class of 2020 rewrite. There were some serious swings at the top, with former top pick Anthony Edwards slipping to second in favor of Lamelo Ball, Tyrese Haliburton landing in third after initially finishing in 12th, and Desmond Bane in second place thereafter 4 came out to be the last first-round pick this year.
Tyrese Maxey contributed to the chaos. Originally picked 21st, Bailey let Maxey finish fifth in his do-over.
“Even on a team with James Harden and Tobias Harris, there were many tracks where Maxey felt like the rightful second choice to Joel Embiid,” Bailey wrote. “His numbers have skyrocketed across the board to 17.5 points, 4.3 assists and 1.8 threes per game with a three-point percentage of 42.7.”
There’s no question Maxey made a huge leap last season. He started 2021 as a nice spark on the bench but finished the season as Philadelphia’s third-best option, comfortably passing Tobias Harris.
After showing special talents last season, where does Maxey go from here? According to an insider, an all-star nod isn’t out of the question.
Last season, the Golden State Warriors sent three All-Stars into midseason competition. And it looks like next season’s Sixers could do a similar job by sending Embiid, Harden and Maxey to the All-Star Game.
But according to Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley, the Sixers could well add a fourth to the mix: Tobias Harris. The last team to send four players to an All-Star Game happened to be the 2018 Warriors, who sent Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green.
The only thing more shocking than Maxey earning his first All-Star nod would be Harris. The forward has never received an All-Star nomination in the past and has rarely been considered a serious contender for a spot.
However, if Philadelphia gets off to a strong start, Harris could be credited as one of the main reasons why. And hey, if Mike Conley got a nomination after 14 seasons, why can’t Harris?