On Saturday afternoon, Philadelphia 76ers rookie Tyrese Maxey made his first-ever NBA start as most of the Sixers roster sat out due to injury or COVID-19 health and safety protocols. As expected, the Sixers couldn't come out on top against a tough Denver Nuggets team while shorthanded.
But regardless of the loss, the Sixers came out feeling good about the progress of their rookie first-round pick. In 43 minutes of action on Saturday, Maxey shot 18 for 33 from the field. With no shortage of offensive opportunities, Maxey accounted for a game-high of 39 points along with seven rebounds, six assists, and two steals.
Following the game, Maxey found out that his 39-points was the highest point total from a Sixers rookie since 76ers Hall of Famer Allen Iverson drained 40 points against the Washington Bullets back in April of 1997.
“It’s bittersweet,” Maxey said about his accomplishment after the game. “We didn’t win, and that’s always the ultimate goal. That’s what I went out there to try to do, and I try to have my team do whatever it took to try to win the basketball game. We fell short, but like I said, It’s bittersweet; it’s cool. You’re not going to really think about that much. It’s over, and I’m looking forward to the next game."
A humble Maxey wasn't too impressed with himself on Saturday as his main goal of winning wasn't accomplished. While being mentioned in the same sentence as Allen Iverson is surely never a bad sign -- especially in Philadelphia -- Maxey made it clear that he's only focused on winning games for the Sixers, not personal records.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_