The Philadelphia 76ers have been notably missing Joel Embiid the last couple of weeks, making his impact on this team and this city even clearer. His absence may even support his MVP case this year more, although too many missed games could cost the Sixers' big man.
Whether the MVP award is in doubt, one thing that is not in doubt is Joel Embiid's All-Star selection. Another Sixers' star though might need to be concerned based on the early NBA All-Star fan votes. This Sixers duo is currently leading the league in combined points per game and is on a historic pace with their production yet Maxey seems to be getting overlooked, at least by the fans.
Is Tyrese Maxey an All-Star lock this season?
The fourth-year Kentucky guard is playing the best basketball of his career and is making a case as the best guard in the entire Eastern Conference through the first half of the season. Maxey is averaging career highs in points (26.2), rebounds (3.7), and assists (6.7) and his game has seen an exponential improvement since James Harden was traded. Allowing Maxey to run this offense and grow into his own is one of the best decisions Daryl Morey has made in his time as General Manager of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Considering everything mentioned above, it is interesting to see Maxey come in fifth in the early NBA All-Star fan voting for Eastern Conference guards. The four guards above him are Donovan Mitchell (4), Damian Lillard (3), Trae Young (2), and Tyrese Haliburton (1). All of those players are great players, but I would argue Maxey has played better than most of them this season.
Both Mitchell and Young are high-volume shooters known for their long-range shooting. The thing is, Maxey is shooting better from three-point range than both of these players; Mitchell is close to a career-low at 34.9%. Dame is an All-timer in the NBA, but career performance should not be a factor. He is having his second-worst shooting season from behind the three-point line at 35.2% and has struggled to find consistency in impacting the outcomes of the Milwaukee Bucks games.
If you want to argue that Tyrese Haliburton is having a better season than Maxey I will not argue with you. He is having a coming-out party and making Indiana basketball relevant again. The point here though is looking at only this season, Maxey is not below the third-best guard in the Eastern Conference at worst.
It is worth noting that the fan vote is only 50% of the weight in the NBA All-Star selection process. The other 25% comes from the NBA players and the media. Tyrese Maxey is likely still poised to be an All-Star for the first time in his career, but the early fan vote feels slightly disrespectful.