Ever since his first NBA preseason game, Philadelphia 76ers rookie Tyrese Maxey has been impressive. As the young guard showed fearlessness and aggressiveness earlier on and put on a show with his reliable floater, Maxey's head coach Doc Rivers, found it difficult to keep him out of the lineup.
Rivers has a reputation for keeping young players off the floor. During training camp in the offseason, he admitted that it's hard to rely on young players, specifically rookies, to come in and have an impact on the game.
Tyrese Maxey might be the exception, though. Since the 76ers started the season two weeks ago, Maxey has found himself in a key role coming off the bench. And now that the Sixers are down a key rotational player in Furkan Korkmaz, Maxey is seeing more minutes early on -- and he's making the most out of his early opportunities.
Through seven games this season, Maxey has seen the court for an average of 15 minutes-per-game. He's knocked down 41-percent of his shots from the field and contributes to six points-per-game. Coming into the Sixers organization, there was a question mark surrounding Maxey's ability to knock down three-pointers.
Through the first five games, Maxey went 0-for-5 from deep. Over the last two games, though, he drained three out of five. At the University of Kentucky, Maxey wasn't recognized as a sharpshooter from deep. So, when he fell to pick No. 21 during the 2020 NBA Draft, it was believed that his shooting averages might've had something to do with that.
When the 76ers selected Maxey with the 21st pick back in November, Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey was asked about it. To no surprise, Morey made it clear that neither the front office nor the coaching staff in Philly is concerned about Maxey's shooting averages from Kentucky.
Although it's early on in the season, Tyrese Maxey looks like a steal for the Sixers. And on Monday night, following the rookie's career-high 11-point game, Doc Rivers expressed just how lucky he feels to have had Maxey fall to the Sixers late in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft.
"There's this narrative out there that the reason he went down in the draft is because people didn't think he could shoot," Rivers said after Monday's game. "I haven't seen a lick of that -- I think he's an excellent shooter. He'll just keep getting better. Once he's ready and takes a shot, he's good. He has great speed. He's going to be a terrific player for us, so we're very lucky that he fell to us."
There's still a lot of basketball left to be played at this point in the season, but Maxey's on the correct path so far. As the rookie continues to have flashes both on offense and defense, his minutes off the bench could slowly increase. As the season progresses and he grows more confident, Maxey could end up becoming a real steal for the 76ers.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_