Tyrese Maxey has been a revelation for the Philadelphia 76ers this season. Behind his drastic improvement, the team has remained in the upper echelon of the East despite the conference being loaded with more talent than ever before.
Joel Embiid has garnered the most headlines, but Maxey’s emergence as a shoo-in for the All-Star game has given the 76ers franchise another legitimate cornerstone — a much-needed development after the exhausting James Harden saga that casted some cloud on the team’s ability to win long-term.
Will 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey win the Most Improved Player award? Which players could stand in his way?
Behind a 5.5 points and 3.1 assists per game leaps from last season, many have penciled Maxey in as the favorite to snag the Most Improved Player award, which was most recently bestowed to Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen, who clinched his first All-Star berth in 2022-23.
That being said, there are other players who made similar jumps in production this season. Maxey will definitely have some tough competition for the plum.
Perhaps most noteworthy is Rockets big man Alperen Sengun, who is turning in an All-Star worthy season so far. The Turkish center is leading Houston in scoring and rebounding, and has been the primary catalyst behind the team’s significant improvement from a season ago when it tied for the second-worst win-loss card in the NBA.
Toronto’s Scottie Barnes has also rebounded from a sophomore slump this year, and has solidified himself as the franchise centerpiece for the Raptors despite the team’s disappointing start to the season.
Indiana’s Tyrese Haliburton has already made the All-Star team last season, but he has managed to rev up his production even more as he leads the Pacers in scoring and the association altogether in assists per game. To be honest, he’s having an MVP-caliber season so far.
Other candidates not mentioned here could emerge down the road, but at this juncture, the award is Maxey’s to lose. As long as he keeps up his level of production and the 76ers keep racking up wins, he should be the runaway favorite to claim it.