Philadelphia 76ers: Tyrese Maxey is more than just a spark plug

(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

‘Air’ Maxey is the Philadelphia 76ers’ Energizer Bunny.

Well, well, well, would you look at that; the Philadelphia 76ers now have the highest winning percentage in the NBA.

Facing off against the Charlotte Hornets for the second straight game in a row, fans of Philly’s finest got a chance to see how Doc Rivers would adjust in a mini-playoff atmosphere.

Granted, there are only so many adjustments a team can make when they blow out a team by 15, but they got to see how the Hornets adjusted to the Sixers, which in a way is also important to see.

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Facing off against a team wholly committed to slowing down Joel Embiid, the Sixers breezed past the former-Bobcats even with a quiet-by-his-standards performance by their best player, outscoring Charlotte by a score of 118-101 while getting all but one of their players into the game in a garbage-time fourth quarter.

But do you know who was the true shining star of Sixers’ second contest against the Queen City’s favorite sons? Yeah, that’d be none other than rookie combo guard Tyrese Maxey.

Sure, technically reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Year Tobias Harris was the high man on the evening at 22 points – his fourth-straight 20 point performance of the still-young season –  but it was Maxey who really shined in his most dominant showcase as an NBA player.

Logging 21 minutes skewing ever so slightly to the second half, Maxey put up a career-high 11 points to go with two assists, two rebounds, and a steal. Now a bit more comfortable with the players around him, the 20-year-old Dallas native looked fully comfortable running the show as Rivers’ conduit on the court.

At this point, calling Maxey a ‘sparkplug coming off the bench’ is a bit unfair. Through his first seven games as a pro, Maxey has become an Energizer Bunny ready to breathe new life into any offense, no matter how stagnant.

To make matters all the more impressive, Maxey is starting to really feel his game on the court, breaking ankles with his double moves and breezing past would-be defenders with his herky-jerky style of play. To make matters all the more impressive, Maxey drained not one but two of his three attempts from beyond the arc, marking his second-straight game with a made 3-pointer. While ‘Air’ Maxey is still visibly hesitant to let the 3 ball fly like, say, Seth Curry, it’s beyond encouraging to see the first-year guard developing his game on the fly.

And best of all? Maxey isn’t just a one-way player.

Again, the sample size is small, but Maxey has proven himself an increasingly capable point guard defender through his first 110 minutes of action. Facing off against a Hornets backcourt trifecta that dropped 53 on the Sixers not three days prior, Maxey and company held the same Terry Rozier, Devonte’ Graham, and LaMelo Ball to 39 points in 83 combined minutes of action.

Let’s just say, when you’re making plays like this; you aren’t bereft of confidence.

*shakes head* Air Maxey indeed.

Next. Why are people surprised by Tobias Harris’ shine?. dark

With the Philadelphia 76ers set to welcome Russell Westbrook, Bradley Beal, and the Washington Wizards to the Wells Fargo Center for the second contest of the season, it’ll be fascinating to see how Doc Rivers opts to use Tyrese Maxey against a more veteran backcourt. Will he continue to play past the 20-minute mark, or will his playing time revert back to the sub-15 mark like in three of his first four appearances of the season. Either way, anytime ‘Air’ Maxey floats onto the court, it’s guaranteed to be showtime – just ask Dwight Howard, last time I checked, he knows a thing or two about ‘Showtime.’