Most Wildcat faithful were surprised to see Tyrese Maxey fall outside of the lottery in the virtual 2020 NBA Draft. He was the only potential top-14 pick that the team had despite all five starters heading pro on last season’s roster.
Let’s just say most general managers should be upset they passed on him, as Maxey has been tearing it up. While he’s had a few starts due to players sitting out for contract tracing or COVID-19 purposes, Maxey’s done most of his work for the Philadelphia 76ers off the bench.
Both Maxey and Isaiah Joe have helped the Sixers cruise to a top-five ranking in the East despite superstar Joel Embiid missing some games. That said, Maxey’s impressive performances have him ranked as the best rookie so far this season by CBS Sports.
“Maxey was put in a precarious situation this past week, as the Sixers pushed him into the starting lineup after Philadelphia had several key players like Tobias Harris who were sidelined due to the league’s health and safety protocols. He not only handled the challenge well, but he shattered expectations. In the loss to Denver, in which Philadelphia was without Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Harris and several other key players, Maxey put up a ridiculous 39 points in his first career start..... It’s no wonder Philly didn’t want to include him in a deal for James Harden, this kid is tough,” CBS Sports’ Jasmyn Wimbish wrote.
Following Maxey in those rankings is the Kings’ Tyrese Haliburton. LaMelo Ball, Maxey’s teammate Joe and Patrick Williams round out the top five. Notable rookies James Wiseman and Anthony Edwards were respectively No. 8 and unranked.
As for Maxey, he’s been much more than just his one 39-point performance. The 6-foot-2 guard, since notching his first performance of over 30 minutes (the same one he erupted for 39 points), has averaged 19.4 points and 32.2 minutes per game.
Maxey’s shooting almost 50 percent from the field in that stretch as well. On the season, he’s at 47.7 percent which, for a rookie guard, is incredibly impressive. He’s been thriving in the Sixers’ unselfish offense.
Against just rookies, Maxey ranks fifth in minutes, second in points, and sixth in assists. He’s at the top of the class in field goals made as well. Overall, it’s been a terrific start for the rookie.