The Philadelphia 76ers drafted Tyrese Maxey with the 21st overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. The lightning-quick guard out of Kentucky showed flashes throughout his rookie season and has excelled in Year 2 after stepping into a much bigger role due to Ben Simmons holding out.
With it being reported that the Nets are open to talking with the Sixers about a James Harden trade, it’s assumed Brooklyn would want Maxey in a deal along with Simmons. Philly reportedly doesn’t want to include Maxey, which is reasonable given just how good he has already become.
The Sixers must do everything in their power to keep Tyrese Maxey. He’s not quite untouchable, but he is essentially untouchable in any realistic trade and shouldn’t be included in a Harden deal.
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3 reasons 76ers should not trade Tyrese Maxey
3. Maxey has shown consistent improvement
Maxey has shown an uncanny ability to improve exponentially even from game to game within the regular season.
Maxey has also gone from a player who was somewhat hesitant to shoot the deep ball last season to somebody who is converting his looks from 3-point range at just over a 40% clip on nearly four attempts per game, which is a respectable volume.
The young Sixers guard is already elite at getting to the rim, showcasing an array of finishes to avoid defenders. He can hit the floater with consistency, or get all the way to the rim and convert off-balance layups with either hand. He is elite at jumping off the wrong foot and still finishing and is also able to double-clutch and adjust his shot in mid-air, showing off an uncanny ability to “float” in the air while waiting for a clear look at the basket.
2. Maxey has elite three-level scorer potential
Maxey brings a crucial ability for the Sixers: the ability to break down a defense and create a high-percentage look for himself. This is an essential skill in crunch time to help out Joel Embiid as a closer.
In the playoffs, especially late in games in the playoffs, officials tend to swallow their whistles and let the players play through contact. This often leads to ultra-physical defense against Embiid, and he is less effective when he doesn’t get calls. These situations call for an elite three-level scorer who can create from the perimeter, and Maxey has shown flashes of that ability. He is already elite at the rim, he has a signature floater that he can go to from the mid-range, he has shown a willingness to shoot from mid-range (along with consistent efficiency from this spot on the floor), and he is rapidly improving as a 3-point shooter.
While Maxey will probably never be a true sniper from deep, he has been shooting over 40% from deep for most of this season, and on respectable volume. This is a huge improvement from last season, when he shot 30% on just over one attempt per game. Maxey has even begun showing a willingness to attempt step-backs, side-steps and other space-creating shots from deep. If he continues improving his abilities, which he has shown the willingness and ability to do based on his track record in his short professional career, Maxey certainly has the potential to become a top-five point guard, and maybe even a top-10 or top-15 player in the league. He can certainly be a perennial All-Star, and maybe even an All-NBA or MVP candidate.
1. Maxey is still just 21 years old
Tyrese Maxey will still be 21 years old at the start of next season. He is a young player who could be in Philadelphia for a decade or more. He can play a key role alongside Joel Embiid competing for championships with the current core in Philly, and then also still be around to be the leader of the next competitive roster for the Sixers. Ten years of All-Star play is more valuable than overpaying for two years of All-Star play, and then several expensive, declining seasons of a star on the wrong side of 30. You’d be giving up future performance to pay for past performance, which is not a winning formula.