I doubt even Tyrese Maxey’s staunchest supporters envisioned this dazzling start of the season for him. Following the recently-turned-23-year-old’s 50-point explosion in the Philadelphia 76ers’ win over Indiana on Sunday night, the conversation has shifted from ‘will Tyrese be an All-Star’ to ‘will Tyrese make an All-NBA team’. These are heady times for a player still on his rookie deal who fell to 21st overall in the 2020 draft. But the hype is warranted!
Before we look at this young season as a whole, let’s quickly take stock of that half-century scoring outing. Maxey was the sixth player in Sixers franchise history to record at least 50 points, five rebounds and five assists in a game, joining Wilt Chamberlain, Hal Greer, Allen Iverson, Dana Barros and teammate Joel Embiid (per 76ers PR). Maxey and Iverson are the only two from that group to do it at younger than 24 years old. Maxey, Anthony Davis and Kobe Bryant are the only NBA players 23 years old or younger to have that 50-5-5 line, plus at least three blocks (since blocks were first tracked in 1973-74). I’d say fans needed to pause and appreciate what was witnessed against the Pacers, but judging from the reaction, I believe everyone is celebrating it with the appropriate degree of perspective.
Zooming back out, Maxey is now averaging 28.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 7.2 assists on the season, with .505/.431/.930 shooting splits. Only Larry Bird and Steph Curry have ever had those numbers with those splits across the first nine games of a season.
Bird. Curry. Maxey. That’s the company for our guy.
As a scorer, Maxey’s 28.6 points per game rank 11th in the NBA. Of the players ahead of him, only Devin Booker (who has only appeared in two games due to injury), Steph Curry, Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic have a true shooting percentage higher than Tyrese’s 63.3 percent mark. The only players who have combined Maxey’s volume and efficiency are players with an MVP award on their mantle or who seem likely to be in that same conversation for years to come.
As a distributor, Maxey’s 7.2 assists per game are also good for 11th in the league. Of those 10 players in front of him, no one has fewer than Tyrese’s 1.1 turnovers per game, with Chris Paul matching him at that mark. So you can count on one hand the number of NBA players being as efficient as Maxey as a high-volume scorer, and two fingers as a high-volume playmaker. Maxey and the Point God.
In case any part of you is reading this and thinking Maxey might have it easier than some other guys getting to play alongside the reigning MVP, the Sixers actually have a higher net rating in the 105 minutes with Maxey on the court and Embiid off than with both stars on the court together.
The Sixers are destroying worlds with Embiid and Maxey. They're destroying worlds with Embiid and not Maxey. They're destroying worlds with Maxey and not Embiid. pic.twitter.com/Po2kb0K0lb— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) November 13, 2023
The team’s numbers are also excellent with Embiid on the court and Maxey sitting out. Turns out both guys are pretty good!
Only two players in the Eastern Conference have— StatMuse (@statmuse) November 13, 2023
they play for the same team. pic.twitter.com/NKZZtT3UJv
We can definitely respect the idea of a small sample size, but we’re over 10 percent of the way into the season and have to properly recognize what Maxey has accomplished on the court thus far. The last time the Sixers started a season 8-1 was the 2000-01 season, when another undersized guard led them to the NBA Finals. Could a repeat be in store? A few weeks ago, I would have thought that idea was absurd, but Tyrese Maxey is slowly making me a believer one stepback three or floater at a time.