Tyrese Maxey credits PJ Tucker, film for helping him improve on defense
PHILADELPHIA–In order for Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey to take the next step in his career, the young man out of Kentucky has to be better on the defensive end. Everybody knows what he brings to the table offensively, it has to be on the defensive end where he moves forward.
As of late, Maxey has been able to take those next steps forward on defense. He was a pest in Friday’s comeback win over the Portland Trail Blazers as Philadelphia changed up its scheme to slow down Anfernee Simons and Damian Lillard. They trapped them both and Maxey’s quickness was able to make a difference.
Recently, Maxey has taken steps forward in terms of pressuring the ball in the backcourt and forcing opposing ball-handlers to waste time off the clock before crossing half-court and getting into their offensive sets.
“Film and competitive nature,” Maxey explained. “Try to go out there and compete every single night. I think I’ve always done that, but especially now because, I mean, you gotta be able to play two sides of the ball come playoff time. I think I did a solid job of that last year and I’m trying to do the same thing this year.”
Then, there’s PJ Tucker who has been a continued influence in his ear in terms of wanting him to be a better defender.
“All year,” Maxey continued. “Ever since he got here. He’s been telling me that there’s no reason that I can’t be a really good defender on this team and I just appreciate him for that.”
The main message Tucker has been trying to get across to Maxey is that he is not a bad defender. He has to be able to understand that and continue to take strides in that respect.
“He was saying like, ‘Bro, you’re not a bad defender. Stop letting them call you a bad defender’,” Maxey finished. “He told me to go out there and compete and be myself every single night and I think I’ve been going that as of late. Trying to pick up, bother guys, take them out of their comfort zone, and it’s been working.”
In the locker room after the game, coach Doc Rivers revealed that Tucker was the one guy who was constantly in Maxey’s ear telling him that he can do this on a regular basis.
“Tuck was killing Tyrese after the game,” Rivers laughed. “He was like, ‘the cat’s out of the bag, brother.’ That’s what he kept saying: ‘you played amazing defense.’ The vets in your locker room are so important. He was in his face saying ‘You played amazing defense. You can do that every single night.’ They were happy about that.”
The Sixers have another defensive challenge ahead of them on Sunday when they play host to Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards.
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