Not to be outdone by the other thriving sports teams in the city of Philadelphia, the Sixers have looked good in opening the preseason with a pair of victories over Brooklyn and Cleveland. The primary storyline has been Tyrese Maxey, who has averaged 20.5 points per game just 14.5 minutes per game, a level of success the analytics community would classify using a rocket ship emoji.
On this week’s Talking About Podcast, Sean Kennedy and David Early kick things off with Maxey’s ascension. Is it downright crazy to already consider the 21-year-old to be the team’s second-best player? Between he and James Harden, which player being the team’s second banana this season would mean a higher ceiling for the prospects of the Sixers’ success? This is just the beginning of the Tyrese Maxey conversations this year, as Dave says on the pod:
“The hype train’s completely out of control, but he’s earned it. Already, you’re looking at some of these max contract guys, like Tyler Herro, RJ Barrett, guys who had more cachet around their name, certainly more draft pedigree in Barrett’s case, and Herro’s also a lottery pick. But now looking at what they got, I’m thinking that Tyrese is gonna get a max next summer. Maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves with all this stuff, but he’s just, like you said, if he did have a big question, probably the biggest reason he fell to the Sixers was because of questions around the jump shot. His jump shot looks really clean and really pure and he looks so comfortable taking it.”
Tyrese Maxey's preseason so far— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) October 6, 2022
20.5 PTS (79% FG) in 14.5 MINSpic.twitter.com/OmfMD2uCob
Then, we move on to the newcomers and how they’ve looked in the early going. P.J. Tucker has already flashed those little things that no Sixer has done in about 15 years. No offensive rebound sequence has ever been cheered harder than the one from Wednesday night. Aside from the whole “Will things fall apart in his late 30’s?” question, he looks like an absolute perfect fit. De’Anthony Melton has displayed the high-level defensive acumen that made him a desirable trade target, and the streaky shooting that made the Grizzlies willing to part with him. Still, you love his vibes.
Finally, the backup center competition may not have been the fait accompli we believed when Montrezl Harrell was signed, as Paul Reed has appeared to maintain his position as the primary backup thus far. Is Doc Rivers actually sticking with a youngster over a vet? Will the dream of playing to the matchups with the team’s optimal personnel be achieved? If so, Harrell is an elite third big, providing a ton of energy and offensive acumen that will be highly valuable during a long regular season.
We cover those topics in more depth, plus hit on how Harden looked coming off his hyped-up offseason, Matisse Thybulle’s tweaked shot, and more. You can listen to this week’s Talking About Podcast episode below:
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