Tyrese Maxey could end up making a bigger impact than any player the Philadelphia 76ers could have traded for this offseason. The fourth-year guard is slated for a major role assuming that James Harden doesn’t miraculously reverse course and report to training camp.
Maxey, the 21st overall pick from the 2020 draft, may be asked to be the starting point guard if the Harden holdout lingers into the regular season. It’s a fact the 22-year-old playmaker acknowledged on his “Maxey on the Mic” podcast back in August. He’s served as the primary ball-handler at various points during his young career, most prolifically when Ben Simmons boycotted the Sixers two seasons ago.
Maxey can do it. Maxey is ready to do it.
“Honestly, I’ve prepared for both all my life, I can say that,” Maxey told reporters at Media Day. “And then just this summer I prepared in a different way because I knew how important I feel like I am to this team, to this organization, whatever, at this point in my career and I’m just ready for whatever. They was telling me that he said Plan A and Plan B. I’m ready for Plan C, D, all the way down to Z if there is one. I’ve just been focusing on finding ways to get better, to improve my game, to find ways to be the best version of Tyrese Maxey that I can be.”
Maxey was referring to something Nick Nurse said when he addressed the media earlier in the day. The new head coach explained how he has a Plan A and Plan B crumpled up in his back pocket, ready to be pulled out and executed as soon as there is a conclusion to the Harden drama. The latter blueprint would see Maxey running the offense, albeit through Joel Embiid in the paint.
What about Harden? Well, Maxey and everyone else in the locker room are holding out hope he comes to his senses and returns.
“As a brother I love James,” Maxey said. “Me and James became close over the last, what? Two years? Maybe a year and a half, or however long it’s been, so of course we hope that he comes in and plays. That’s always cool. And for myself, for my teammates, we gotta keep going out there and playing regardless of the situation. Plan A, Plan B, like Nurse Nurse says — and be ready for whatever life brings us.”