Sixers: Tyrese Maxey is the next great Kentucky guard

Tyrese Maxey, Sixers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Tyrese Maxey, Sixers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

Two years ago when the Sixers drafted Tyrese Maxey 21st overall in the 2020 NBA Draft, I posited if he could be the next great Kentucky guard to excel in the NBA. After only a season and a half, I think we have seen enough to say the answer is yes.

The list of NBA guards who played college basketball at the University of Kentucky under head coach John Calipari is truly remarkable. Let me re-list them from my previous article. Over the span of six consecutive years, Kentucky had the following players selected in the first round of the respective NBA Drafts.

  • 2015 – Devin Booker
  • 2016 – Jamal Murray
  • 2017 – Malink Monk
  • 2018 – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
  • 2019 – Tyler Herro
  • 2020 – Tyrese Maxey

Booker is a 3-time All-Star who is arguably the best player on a team with the best record in the NBA, the Phoenix Suns. Murray has scored 50 points three times in his young career. Monk is having a slight renaissance with the Los Angeles Lakers this season shooting 40 percent from 3-point range. SGA is one of the most compelling young players in the league with a ceiling that is sky high. Herro became a household name when the Heat made a run to the NBA Finals in the Disney bubble and has a good chance at winning the Sixth Man of the Year award this season.

The Sixers unearthed another Kentucky gem in the form of Tyrese Maxey

And last, but certainly not least, is Maxey. Maxey is in just his second season, having played just125 NBA games and yet it is already clear that he will not only be following in the aforementioned player’s footsteps, but also likely near the top of that group.

Ja Morant will most likely win the Most Improved Player award this season, but Maxey has a real case. Maxey increased his points per game from 8.0 to 17.6, rebounds per game from 1.5 to 3.2, assists per game from 2.0 to 4.5. He has more than doubled his production in all key statistical areas in just one year. The most remarkable improvement in his game though, and most applicable to the Sixers success, is his 3-point shooting percentage which was 30 percent ast season and is now up to 42.3 percent!

Tyrese Maxey is a potential superstar in the making and who better to teach him how to dominate this league than James Harden. It is not just fans who are seeing his growth. Mike Missanelli said on his radio show a few weeks back that during the middle of the Knicks versus Sixers game in Philly, Julius Randle went over to John Calipari and said “Maxey is (bleeping) good.” A fellow NBA player felt the need to tell their former coach that in the middle of a game.

Clearly Coach Cal is doing something special at Kentucky in developing guards to the point that I would just draft one from that program off the bench. Maxey however, has the potential to be one of the best from Kentucky and I cannot wait to watch the player he develops into.

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