To absolutely no one’s surprise, Patrick Beverley has quickly become a Sixers fan favorite this year. His relentless trash talk is tailor-made for Philadelphia—long live the Belt 2 Ass tour and him saying the Toronto Raptors had “no dogs”—but it isn’t just reserved for opponents.
During a recent appearance on the Million $ Worth of Game podcast, Maxey credited Beverley for delivering some tough love after his horrendous 4-of-20 shooting performance during the Sixers’ Christmas Day loss to the Miami Heat sans Joel Embiid.
“He came at me after the Miami game. And he was like, you know what? Everybody’s gonna say, ‘Tyrese, it’s OK, it’s OK.’ You know what I’m saying? Because you played bad. He said, ‘F—k it, Imma say it. You’ve gotta pick it up without Joel.’ Everybody will kiss your back, everybody will tell you how great you are. And I said, ‘You know what, OG? I got you.’ We win the next two games, I play well, go to [Houston] and have 40. He’s like, ‘That’s all I wanted to see. I know you got it, I know you done did it before. Everybody’s gonna say it’s OK, but I’ve gotta be the bad guy.’”
In Wednesday’s episode of The Pat Bev Podcast, Beverley said he tried to goad Maxey on by saying that he couldn’t carry the team with Embiid sidelined.
“Turnt him up! 40, next game,” Beverley added. “30 something, next game. Turnt him up.”
After his forgettable 12-point outing on Christmas, Maxey did have 23 points on 9-of-18 shooting in a 20-point win over the Orlando Magic. Two nights later, he poured in 42 points on 13-of-26 shooting—including an Embiid-esque 14-of-15 from the free-throw line—in a four-point win over the Houston Rockets.
But can we just take a minute to reflect on this? In Maxey, the Sixers finally have the guard for whom they’ve been searching throughout the entire Embiid era. He’s lethal both on and off the ball, and he’s likely headed for his first All-Star nod in a few weeks’ time. Not only that, but he’s also willing to embrace tough love and hard coaching.
Remember when Doc Rivers tried to gaslight us for an entire year into thinking it didn’t matter that Ben Simmons refused to shoot if he wasn’t in the restricted area? And remember when Simmons demanded a trade from the Sixers after Rivers refused to answer whether he could be the starting point guard of a championship-level team? (Not on a championship-level team, but specifically the starting point guard.) Compare that to Maxey, who remained professional last season despite temporarily moving to the bench.
While Embiid is the alpha and the omega for the Sixers, the Sixers can’t afford as many off nights from Maxey as they could in years past, particularly on nights where Embiid doesn’t play. Heading into Wednesday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks, the Sixers averaged 121.8 points per 100 possessions in games that Embiid has played this season compared to only 114.1 points per 100 in games that he missed, per PBPStats.
As Daniel Olinger noted on the Rights to Ricky Sanchez website Wednesday, some of those struggles are tied to Maxey, whose ability to run the offense hinges on the big fella’s gravity. Without Embiid sucking multiple defenders into the paint, teams can devote more of their defensive attention to getting Maxey out of rhythm.
The Embiid-less games are an opportunity for Maxey to show that he can thrive without the league’s reigning MVP, but he needs to take advantage of that. On the Pat Bev Podcast, Beverley said he’s focused on helping Maxey become the best version of himself.
“I ain’t here for a check, I’m here for your legacy,” Beverley said. “My young guys have legacies. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Anthony Edwards. When you talk about legacy, I don’t f—k around. Shai’s mom walked up to me in Toronto, like, ‘Thank you for helping my son.’ You feel me? These are stories I’d never tell. I don’t play about my young guys. I want them to get everything they deserve in life.”
Think back to Game 4 against the Boston Celtics last year, when P.J. Tucker got in Embiid’s face and yelled at him toward the end of the fourth quarter to get his head back into the game. The Sixers now have the guard version of that in Beverley.
And unlike his point guard predecessors, Maxey seems to appreciate that tough love.