The Philadelphia 76ers have yet to resolve their Ben Simmons problem. The Sixers’ front office reportedly has a very steep asking price for Simmons. Daryl Morey insists that Philadelphia should get a star-caliber player in return for the 2017 first overall pick.
However, interested teams are hesitant to budge on Philly’s price due to Simmons’ recent struggles and his lack of development over the years. Still, the 25-year-old carries significant value because of his dynamic playmaking ability and his elite defense.
The Sixers reportedly have a list of about 30 players they are willing to trade Simmons for. Philadelphia should feel comfortable in lowering its previously high asking price for the former LSU star. The reason why the Sixers should proceed with this in mind is because of the emergence of second-year point guard Tyrese Maxey.
Maxey has been quite the revelation for Philadelphia in his sophomore campaign. He essentially filled in as the starting point guard in place of Simmons. Filling in the shoes of a multiple-time All-Star and an All-Defensive stud like Simmons was a daunting task for the 21-year old, but Maxey has taken the opportunity and is running away with it.
The 6-foot-2 point guard has been the only player who has played in all of Philly’s 16 games this season. As the team’s third-leading scorer, Maxey is putting up 17.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game while shooting 52.3 percent from the field and 43.4 percent from beyond the arc.
Having been the healthiest player for a battered Sixers squad that has suffered through injuries and COVID, Maxey has done a surprisingly marvelous job in helping to keep this ship sailing. After starting out the season 8-2, Philadelphia lost five games in a row as a result of missing several key players, including superstar center Joel Embiid and second-leading scorer Tobias Harris.
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The shorthanded Sixers finally broke the five-game losing skid on Thursday night when they took down reigning MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. Maxey led a balanced Sixers attack with 22 points, five rebounds, and four assists.
As he has shown several times this season, Maxey is capable of being the best player on the floor on any given night. At just 20 years old and in Year 2, he has already shown great maturity with his play and decision-making. While turnovers became a bit of an issue early in the season, Maxey has cut down on the giveaways, committing just six over his last eight games.
Maxey is by no means the same playmaker as Simmons. But he is making strides in that aspect of his game and should continue to learn the nuances of being a true point guard and playmaker as he goes on with his career. Maxey also isn’t an All-NBA defender like the versatile 6-foot-11 wing, but the Sixers have an impressive young defensive stud in Matisse Thybulle to cover for that.
Nonetheless, where Simmons has lacked — and that is with his shooting and aggressiveness to score — Maxey has filled in. The Dallas native isn’t shy to call his own number when there is a need to do it. He also doesn’t seem to be fazed by the bright lights. Most importantly, he is slowly creating great rapport with Joel Embiid. As an added bonus, Maxey is able to space the floor for Philadelphia’s superstar big man, something Simmons has never done.
With Maxey’s emergence in Year 2, the Sixers should really consider dropping their price a bit in any deal for Simmons. Maxey has proven that he can already contribute to winning. The Sixers should still get a valuable piece in a Simmons trade. Maxey’s improvement and the added pieces in the Simmons deal should keep Philadelphia in the title hunt.