Skip to main content

The Philadelphia 76ers have had some bad luck when it comes to injuries this season. After getting off to a red-hot start to the 2021-2022 NBA season, the Sixers led the Eastern Conference with an impressive 8-2 record.

But then injuries happened, and so did a COVID-19 outbreak, leaving the Sixers with no choice but to switch up their starting lineup and game night rotations constantly. 

While the Sixers have struggled to find stability throughout the young season, they did see some positives throughout their recent tough stretch as the young point guard Tyrese Maxey has shown significant strides in his development. 

Through 21 games this season, Maxey has averaged 18 points per game while shooting 48-percent from the field and 38-percent from three. During the nine-game stretch Sixers star center Joel Embiid sat out, Maxey led Philly in production by putting up 24 points per game while hitting on 42-percent of his threes.

However, as Embiid's back in the lineup, Maxey's production has seen a notable dip. Over the last two games, which Embiid played in, Maxey has averaged 12 points while draining just 26-percent of his shots. 

Read More

While it's just a tiny sample size, Maxey has clearly been less efficient and taking four fewer shots per game with Embiid back in the lineup. Is that a cause for concern for Sixers head coach Doc Rivers? Not in the slightest. 

"There are no issues with Maxey playing with Joel," Rivers said on Wednesday. "Maxey didn't play well the other night, but that had nothing to do with being with Joel. You know, Maxey's played great all year with Joel. So, that's not gonna change. Maxey is going to be just fine."

When the Sixers took the court on Monday to face the Orlando Magic, Maxey had one of his most disappointing performances this season. Chucking up 12 shots, the Sixers guard drained just two of his attempts and scored a total of nine points, marking just the second time he didn't notch double-digits this season. As Maxey and the Sixers gear up for Boston, Doc Rivers wants spectators to keep their expectations in check when it comes to Maxey's production when playing alongside Embiid.

"I think where people get lost is when Joel is out, someone's gotta score," he continued. "That's just the way it is. When Joel and Tobias is out, someone's gotta score. When Joel, Tobias, and Seth are out, someone's gonna score more points. So when they come back, that doesn't mean that same someone's gonna score the same amount of points. It's asinine to think that way, you know? He's gonna be aggressive, and we're going to keep him aggressive. He just didn't play well the other night. That's gonna happen. It wasn't just him -- I didn't think we played well as a group."

Maxey, Embiid, and the 76ers return to the court on Wednesday night to face the Boston Celtics on the road for the first time this year. After getting the day off on Tuesday, the Sixers will look to try and capitalize on their Monday night win with another victory on Wednesday as they embark on another tough road trip.

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.