After a promising first two seasons in the NBA, Philadelphia 76ers point guard Tyrese Maxey has emerged as a bonafide star in his third year in the big leagues. Not only is he averaging a career-high 20.5 points per game on excellent efficiency from the field (48.0%) and behind the three-point arc (42.7%), but Maxey is earning himself trips to the free-throw line more than he ever has in the pros (3.6 attempts per contest).
In a recent interview with Dime, Maxey revealed the role that James Harden has played in his massive year three jump:
“He’s taught me to be confident. He’s taught me to be myself. He’s just really helped me be someone who can go out there every single night and perform at the highest level, and help our team win.”
Maxey, 22, was selected with the 21st overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft. He's averaging 20.5 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.1 blocks, and 1.3 turnovers per game across 57 appearances this season (38 starts).
While the former Kentucky star is enjoying the best season of his pro career in the 2022-23 campaign, his assists numbers are down a bit from the year prior — Maxey is dishing out just 3.6 assists per contest this season.
Maxey's words on Harden and his role in the youngster's huge third year should be music to 76ers fans' ears. After all, the Sixers will need Maxey to continue to play at a high level and with confidence, if they want to make a deep playoff run this spring and pull off an upset a fellow Eastern Conference heavyweight like the Boston Celtics or Milwaukee Bucks.