By Connor Thomas
The Sixers have not had a lot go right for them over the past few days. They’ve been without Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Isaiah Joe, and Matisse Thybulle due to COVID protocols, and have also missed Seth Curry to injury and Ben Simmons to an unwillingness to play basketball. They’ve dropped back to back games on back to back nights to the New York Knicks and the Milwaukee Bucks. Ideally, this is not the situation you would want to be in as an NBA franchise. The situation is only temporary, and the Sixers should be back to full strength in a week or so, but it’s been a tough stretch for the team. However, there’s been a major bright spot that has gotten a chance to shine thanks to the recent short-handedness in Philly.
Tyrese Maxey has stepped up in the absence of numerous starters, and has looked incredible while doing it. In the Sixers’ most recent game against the Bucks, Maxey tied Giannis Antetokounmpo for a game high in points with a 31 point performance. He looked like a 5-6 year NBA vet rather than the newly 21 year old 2nd year player that he actually is. His defense seems to get better every night too, and while he has certain physical limitations at his size (6’2”, 200 lbs), his ceiling is an absolutely serviceable NBA defender at the point guard position. But where Maxey has really shined is his control of the basketball.
The young product out of Kentucky has proven why John Calipari had so much faith in him when he was a Wildcat. Maxey has been nearly turnover free this year, something that the Sixers have desperately needed for years now. It’s incredible considering the relative inexperience of the 21 year old, who just had his first legal drink about a week ago. We already knew about Maxey’s ability to get to the rim, and his floater in the lane is a patent pending move. He can score, and he’s quick, but the control is unheard of for a young point guard carrying this much weight of the team on his shoulders. You never like to see this many members of the team shut down due to sickness or injury, but the positives that Tyrese Maxey has shown in their absence is a great sign for the prospects of the Sixers further down the road.