PHILADELPHIA–The Philadelphia 76ers are in the process of developing Tyrese Maxey into a top playmaker as well as being an elite scorer on the floor. His time playing with James Harden has helped him a lot with that and it has shown on the floor.
Maxey has been able to use his speed to get to the rim and get easy baskets while also being able to change up his speed and get free for open jumpers. He has also shown a big improvement in being able to make plays for others with his passing and in taking care of the ball.
Before the Sixers knocked off the Boston Celtics 106-103 on Wednesday, Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla was impressed with Maxey’s improvement.
“He’s really good,” Mazzulla said of Maxey. “So, obviously, now that he’s got the ball in his hands a lot more, he’s really dynamic. The biggest thing he does is the way he scores after makes. We make a basket and he goes down in transition and scores so we just have to be highly alert to him in all areas on the floor and we have to guard him with all five people. It’s not just one guy’s job and I think he’s grown tremendously. I enjoy watching him play.”
Mazzulla is right in that respect. There will be plenty of times when Maxey will grab a rebound and immediately take it the other way for a quick bucket or a pass to Joel Embiid. There are also many other scorers for the young man to turn to now with his passing ability.
“They do it with both Maxey and Embiid so it’s just something that you can’t relax,” Mazzulla added. “Whether we make or miss, we gotta sprint back, get five guys below the line of the basketball, and be ready to guard as a team.”
The Celtics held Maxey to 11-for-27 shooting, but he did find a way to score 25 points with 11 of them coming in the fourth quarter. Despite the slow start, the young guard out of Kentucky was able to break through and keep Boston at bay.
It helps that he was out there with shooters such as Nic Batum and Robert Covington who made big plays on both ends of the floor.
“Their spacing is different,” Mazzulla acknowledged after the game. “Maxey, his freedom is a little bit different. I think they’re a little bit physical with some of the length finishing with Batum, finishing with Covington, they’re long. So I think there on the offensive end, they have their identity of their spacing, and defensively, they’re long and physical.”