Heading into the 2020 NBA Draft, Kentucky freshman Tyrese Maxey was projected to be an earlier lottery pick. As the first round of the draft was in effect, the versatile guard was finding himself slipping down the board.
It wasn't until the 21st pick of the draft when Maxey heard his name called on ESPN by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. It took a little longer than expected, but Maxey would burst out into tears when he realized he was going from being a freshman at Kentucky to being a rookie for the Sixers.
While Maxey was humble in the situation, barely acknowledging how far he fell -- the rookie's now-former head coach Joh Calipari sounded off on the teams that passed on the young guard before the Sixers selected him.
“I thought he should have gone earlier," Calipari stated in a video, which he posted on Twitter. "Let me just tell you; there’s a lot of people who are going to regret that they passed. There are about eight positions that they’re going to look back a few years from now and say, ‘Look where he went and where he could have gone.’”
Even Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey didn't expect Maxey to be available at No. 21 heading into draft night.
“We were excited to have such a blue-chip prospect there, top 10 in high school. I like guards who can guard multiple positions, and he can do that,” Morey said. “Doc really wants to get out in transition, that’s a focus of Dave Joerger as well, and Tyrese has a history of that. The overall package outside of that, he’s just a guy you get in the lottery and to get him at 21 and at a position of need, we’re very excited about that.”
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_