Tyrese Maxey began the Philadelphia 76ers’ season with unreal scoring efficiency and some huge scoring outings. But in recent games, without the benefit of James Harden’s playmaking, Maxey has not looked like his usual self and has failed to uplift the Sixers offense.
In the three games since Harden’s injury, Maxey is shooting just 19-64 from the field, good for a miserable field-goal percentage of 29.7 percent. He shot just 5-17 in the Sixers’ loss to the Atlanta Hawks, making him one of the key contributors to a very rough performance. In his postgame press conference on NBC Sports Philadelphia, Doc Rivers admitted that Maxey is really struggling and that a big reason why is that he tries too hard to shoot through his shooting woes.
“Tyrese is really struggling. We gotta get him going,” Rivers said of the Sixers’ young, budding star. “His failsafe button right now is: when he struggles, he forces it even more instead of letting the game come to him. I thought he took two [or] three threes early instead of getting to the paint. The paint sets his game up and then everything else follows. I think, right now, he’s trying to do the reverse…He’s had three games in a row now and he’s gotta figure it out and we have to help him.”
Maxey hasn’t lost any confidence without Harden, which is at least a small consolation that shows he isn’t shying away from his increased responsibility. The Sixers offense looking significantly worse without The Beard is not all his fault, as he is missing out on some easy chances at buckets that should be there without Harden. He suffers from the Sixers’ lack of playmaking outside of Harden more than he contributes to it, though he could stand to improve in that area given the number of touches he gets.
The Sixers can survive by spamming Maxey-Embiid pick-and-rolls and Maxey’s shooting percentages should rebound eventually. But for the time being, Philadelphia is having a very tough time adjusting to life without its only floor general.