The Philadelphia 76ers may not be the darlings of the NBA as the curtain opens on the 2023-24 season, but with the reigning Most Valuable Player in Joel Embiid spearheading what remains as one of the more talented teams, fans and pundits alike are still placing high expectations on the club moving forward.
James Harden and his elliptical journey to seeking a way out of Philly have been drawing the boldest headlines, but the 76ers are hellbent on proceeding with what they have in store in the upcoming campaign. Fortunately for them, Tyrese Maxey appears poised to take on the reigns from the disgruntled star.
Joel Embiid makes bold proclamation on Tyrese Maxey’s ceiling with the 76ers
Assuming that Harden continues his string of unexplained absences or only plays once in a while, the 76ers will have massive shoes to fill on the playmaking department. The former MVP led the league last season with 10.7 dimes per contest and was perhaps the second-most important piece behind the team’s outstanding offense.
Now, Maxey’s career average of 3.5 assists per game may not pump much inspiration on that front, but the budding star has shown glimpses of high-volume table-setting for his teammates during the preseason, tallying 5.5 dimes in just 25.9 minutes per outing over four games. Strikingly, he notched 12 assists, a personal best, in the 76ers final dust-up game.
Embiid, who was the main benefactor of Harden’s passing last season, was quick to heap praise on Maxey’s potential as a point guard.
"Well, if he wants to lead the league in assists, he can, but that was great to see."
Leading the league in assists is no small feat, especially for a natural score-first guard transitioning to a headier role like Maxey, but with Philadelphia bannering a slew of high-level scorers and very capable finishers under Nick Nurse’s creative guidance on the sidelines, it would be a safe bet to bank on him to register a career-year on the passing department.
That may not necessary culminate in him leading the association in that aspect, but him quickly acclimating to a more robust and eclectic role will be key for the Philadelphia 76ers this season as they seek to prove that their championship window is still alive and kicking.