2. Tyrese Maxey (written by Mike Greger)
Analysis: It’s not going out on a limb to suggest that Maxey might be the most important player on the roster this season. Yes, that includes Joel Embiid. Daryl Morey has already gone on record calling the fourth-year guard a franchise “cornerstone for a very long time.” Not for nothing, he’s also playing for a Brink’s truck of money after the Sixers decided not to extend him.
Maxey is set to have a major role on the offensive end, maybe as the primary ball-handler depending on how the James Harden situation plays out, and the 6-foot-2 combo guard remains committed to improving on a high 116.8 defensive rating during the 2022-23 campaign. He’s been working hard to “get in gaps” and “crawl up under guys” this offseason. Offensively, Maxey has all the tools: a lethal three-pointer (43.4%), a dizzying handle, and the speed to beat anyone to the rack. In transition? Forget about it.
Maxey is a runaway train that can reach 16.7 miles per hour on the court.
Whether he pivots to point guard or stays at the two, the burner from Kentucky is going to be counted on to carry the load for long stretches. The Sixers will probably experiment with small lineups where Maxey is the focal point. Clear the floor and let him work.
He has increased his scoring averages every single year – from 8.0 points per game as a rookie, up to 17.5 in his sophomore year, all the way to 20.3 last season. Maxey’s potential is limitless.