The Sixers were without multiple starters on Saturday night against the Pistons. One of those starters was Ben Simmons, who sat due to back tightness.
With Simmons sidelined, Doc Rivers opted to start rookie Tyrese Maxey at point guard. After not playing on Friday, Rivers felt Maxey could provide some much-needed energy in the second leg of a back-to-back.
Along with providing energy, Maxey put on a stellar performance in what was just the seventh start of his career. Aside from his 39 point barrage against the Denver Nuggets earlier in the year, this was undoubtedly the best performance of Maxey's young career.
Maxey did it all for the Sixers in Saturday's win over the Pistons, going for 22 points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one block. He also shot an efficient 7-11 from the floor.
After the game, Rivers raved over Maxey's incredible showing, saying he thought he was terrific on the floor.
"I thought he was terrific. He shot the shots that he should shoot and attacked when he should attack. He made the right passes," said Rivers postgame.
While his offensive showcase is what stands out, Rivers was most impressed with the energy Maxey gave on the other end, crediting the rookie for the work he put in pressuring the Pistons' guards.
"I thought his ball pressure tonight [stood out]. We challenge them to get up every time and turn them, and I thought he did that. He was exhausted at the end of the game because of that. I told him defense is hard, but you can do both, and I thought he did that," Rivers said.
When Maxey heard about what his coach thought of his defense, he was grateful for the recognition of his hard work. Improving on that end is something Maxey looks to work on. He went on to say he watches Matisse Thybulle film to improve as a defender.
Being just 20 years old, Maxey still has so much room to grow in his game. With his mix of potential and work ethic, there is no denying he will be a good player in this league for years to come. Saturday's performance was a prime example of that.
Kevin McCormick covers the Philadelphia 76ers for South Jersey's 97.3 ESPN and Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCNBA.