Let’s be clear, the Philadelphia 76ers have only played nine games in an 82-game season, but the early season vibes are good. The team is 8-1 atop the Eastern Conference, Joel Embiid is playing like he’s the reigning MVP, and James Harden is gone. The Sixers are in a good place and Tyrese Maxey is one of the main reasons why.
With Harden gone, Maxey has stepped in as the full-time point guard of the club and has performed extraordinarily well in the role. Not only has he excelled as the lead playmaker, but the guard has taken his game to a whole new level despite being a 20-point-per-game scorer last season. In fact, he’s one of the most improved players in the NBA this season and should be an early favorite for the Most Improved Player Award.
Sixers point guard Maxey is an early favorite for the Most Improved Player Award.
The jump in stats for Maxey is insane, take a look below.
Granted nine games is a small sample size, but there are only two point guards in the NBA scoring more than Maxey in Luka Doncic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. He’s also playing like one of the best point guards in the Eastern Conference if not the best one.
Besides his 3-point shooting and field goal percentage, he’s seen improvement in every statistical category this season. His decision-making is probably the biggest highlight as he’s 7.5 assists to 1.0 turnovers. For a point guard that’s elite. That being written he does have competition for the award.
There are several players who can push the award as well besides the Sixers’ point guard. For example, Cam Thomas of the Brooklyn Nets went from averaging 10.6 points to 26.9 points this season. It’s fair to write that Thomas is Maxey’s biggest competition for the award as of now.
Outside of Maxey and Thomas, there’s a list of players who can put their names into the race. Which includes:
- Shaedon Sharpe, Portland Trail Blazers
- Alperen Sengun, Houston Rockets
- Scottie Barnes, Toronto Raptors
- Jalen Johnson, Atlanta Hawks
- Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons
- Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves
- Desmond Bane, Memphis Grizzlies
- Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies
It’s early and things can change, but Tyrese Maxey is one of the favorites to win the Most Improved Player Award. Now the question becomes will the Sixers’ point guard be able to sustain this early success? Only time will tell.