Sixers: Pros and cons of starting Tyrese Maxey

Tyrese Maxey, Sixers Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Tyrese Maxey, Sixers Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
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(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

The Sixers opened training camp with a five-man group of Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Danny Green, Seth Curry… and Tyrese Maxey. With Ben Simmons on his couch and the Sixers short on options, the second-year point guard is expected to get the starting nod.

That said, there are definite pros and cons to the Kentucky product, who spent most of last season on the fringes of the rotation. Maxey averaged 15.3 minutes per game as a rookie, spending a lot of time stashed behind Shake Milton and Furkan Korkmaz in the second unit. It wasn’t until the playoffs that Maxey had a proper breakthrough, and even that was short lived due to Philly’s early exit.

With the 20-year-old primed to see extended minutes in a much broader role this season, what can the Sixers’ safely expect — and what are some potential drawbacks to Maxey’s looming promotion?

Pro of the Sixers starting Tyrese Maxey: Dribble penetration

Doc Rivers has options in the starting five. Matisse Thybulle and Georges Niang are two names he mentioned as potential considerations depending on matchups and circumstances. That said, Maxey is the penciled-in favorite to replace Ben Simmons outright. And for good reason. He was frequently the Sixers’ best bench guard last season, even in limited minutes.

Maxey’s best attribute is his quickness. He’s electric off the dribble, with a breakneck first step and the ability to put pressure on the rim at will. There is no other player on the Sixers roster that can consistently penetrate the defense and get to the rim, save for Joel Embiid — a center. Maxey’s dribble penetration will open up playmaking opportunities in the absence of Ben Simmons’ natural downhill gravity.

That alone will probably make Maxey the Sixers’ third (or even second) most important offensive player in the absence of Simmons. While that’s a lot to put on the shoulders of a sophomore guard who barely played last season, Maxey has shown the flashes of a special player, and his work ethic is indicative of someone who is ready to produce. The Sixers need someone to compromise defenses on the perimeter, and Maxey can readily supply that.

When pitted against his peers, Maxey is already an absurdly persistent driver. He gets into the lane frequently. As last season went on, he even did a better job turning some of his patented floaters into layups, getting all the way to the rack and embracing contact for more efficient shots.