When the Philadelphia 76ers’ 2021-2022 season started, Tyrese Maxey won over the starting point guard battle against Shake Milton as the three-time All-Star ball-handler Ben Simmons held out.
With Simmons refusing to suit up for the Sixers again, Maxey never lost his spot in the starting lineup. However, he did become a part-time ball-handler as the Sixers made a move for the ten-time All-Star James Harden, who became the team’s go-to playmaker.
While Harden was certainly the Sixers’ superior playmaker, Maxey remained an essential piece to the starting lineup. And the young guard looked forward to learning from Harden throughout the remainder of the 2021-2022 season and into the playoffs.
Unfortunately, Harden’s late arrival made it difficult for the backcourt duo to reach its full potential. Harden appeared in just 21 regular-season games with the Sixers before embarking on a 12-game postseason stint.
After the season concluded in the second round of the playoffs, Harden assured everybody he would be back in Philly one way or another. He looked forward to having an entire offseason with the organization so he could build chemistry with his Sixers teammates.
The young guard Maxey is on the same page. As Maxey met with reporters over the weekend at his 1% Skills Camp in Philadelphia, Maxey expressed excitement in working with Harden ahead of the 2022-2023 season as they’ll be able to improve their on-court chemistry early on.
“It’s gonna be great,” said Maxey, according to Ky Carlin of Sixers Wire. “Chemistry is everything. We only played like 20-something games together, so for us to be able to have a whole training camp and an entire season together, it’s gonna be nothing but good things for us and a positive outcome.”
Maxey surely benefitted from Harden’s arrival last season, but the duo clearly struggled to meet its full potential when the postseason rolled around.
A full offseason working together doesn’t guarantee anything for the Sixers guards, but it will be expected to boost the team’s chances of making a serious run as Harden and Maxey continue improving their chemistry.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for All76ers, a Sports Illustrated channel. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.