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Tyrese Maxey’s shooting improvement goes beyond the box score

Basic stats don’t showcase just how big of a leap he’s taken in year two.

NBA: Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Tyrese Maxey is approaching the end of a successful sophomore campaign. The argument can be made that he’s exceeded expectations with a larger role in his second year. He’s shown improvement across the board — with scoring, passing, and even rebounding. You name it.

One of the most impressive areas of growth has been his perimeter shooting — the same thing, ironically, that most people pointed to as the reason why he fell back in the 2020 NBA Draft. His basic stats show the improvement well, going from 30.1 percent in his rookie year to a staggering 41.7 percent this season. That alone is impressive, but it doesn’t tell the full story of the strides he’s taken with his shooting in such little time.

Basic box score stats won’t specify what types of threes are being taken in a game. For example, you can shoot a three off the catch or off the dribble. NBA.com/stats tracks this information for us, and that’s where we can see how Maxey has taken leaps beyond basic stats.

In Maxey’s rookie season, he shot 1.1 catch-and-shoot threes per game on 32.2 percent shooting. This season, he’s shooting 43 percent on catch-and-shoot threes with nearly double the amount of attempts at 2.1. For context, Golden State’s Stephen Curry is shooting 39 percent on catch-and-shoot shots with five per game. Admittedly, Curry has had a bit of a down year, but you’re in good company if you’re in the neighborhood with him in regards to anything shooting-related.

Maxey has been a tremendous shot maker this season, and he’s thrived shooting off the dribble. Last season, he shot 25.7 percent on pull-up threes. This year he’s improved to 40.7 percent on 1.8 attempts per game. This is a really important aspect of his development, as defenses will typically pick the lesser of two evils, living with his outside shot rather than watching Maxey streak to the rim for the lay-up. Maxey has shown confidence and willingness to let it fly when defenses challenge him.

His efficiency has been downright great, but his consistency from beyond also deserves praise. His worst shooting month this season came in October, where he shot 31.6 percent from three in six games. Since then, he hasn’t logged a month shooting worse than 38.5 percent. This month looks to be his best yet, where he’s shot 46.9 percent on 5.3 attempts per game. When looking at his stats-per-month, you can see an obvious trend up in his three-point attempts. It’s gone from 3.2 attempts to 5.3 from beginning to end of the season.

Reading numbers can get a bit tiresome, so let’s dive into some shot charts. The first will display Maxey’s zoned perimeter shooting in his rookie year while the second will show the same for this season:

Maxey’s 2020-21 season:

Maxey’s 2021-22 season:

Green is good, and there’s sure a lot more of it on that second shot chart! Maxey’s perimeter shooting doesn’t have much of an obvious weakness in regards to where he’s shooting from. His worst spot is at the top of key, which is the farthest distance away from the basket — even there he’s shooting a respectable 35.4 percent. The right corner, in particular, is really impressive at 62.5 percent. Maxey seems to thrive while operating on the right side of the court, which might be noteworthy for future seasons to come.

Apart from shooting, Maxey has excelled across the board. The Sixers have a legitimate star in the making with him. This type of shot improvement doesn’t happen often, let alone in a player’s second year in the NBA. What Tyrese Maxey is doing this season is flat out special, and it needs to be appreciated.