Tyrese Maxey deserves Most Improved Player consideration
With the arrival of James Harden in Philly, it’s safe to say most assumed Tyrese Maxey’s production would decline.
That simply hasn’t been the case. In five games with Harden thus far, Maxey is playing the best basketball of his career.
Maxey has been the second-best player on the Sixers this entire season, which is saying a lot considering Joel Embiid is arguably the MVP favorite. With just over a month left in the NBA regular season, we have a general understanding of who the candidates are for each reward. Including the most improved player award.
In the 2021-22 season, the most likely candidates for the MIP award are Ja Morant, Darius Garland, Dejounte Murray as well as Tyrese Maxey. Morant appears to be the runaway favorite coming away with -900 odds via Fanduel Sportsbook. Morant has taken his scoring average from 19.1 PPG all the way up to 27.6 currently. For some reason, the Sixers’ second-year player Maxey isn’t getting any respect.
I’m not here to argue that Maxey deserves the award over Morant, but it’s blasphemous that he has the sixth-highest odds according to the sportsbooks. For example, Garland has only taken his scoring average up 3 points while Maxey has more than doubled his scoring average from last season.
Not to mention, Maxey came off the bench in his rookie season. In his first year as a starter, Maxey has improved his field goal percentage while taking six more shots a game compared to his rookie year. As well as attempt two more threes per game while shooting 42.3% from deep compared to 30% the prior year. Maxey’s shooting splits are hovering around the 50-40-90 club which is an elite class of scoring.
The fact that Tyrese is so efficient, you can make an argument with more opportunity and shots he could become one of the better scorers in the league. It’s no coincidence he’s averaging 24.8 PPG in his first five games alongside Harden.
He is finally able to play his natural role as the scoring guard in the starting lineup.
Of all the MIP candidates, Maxey is the only one who doesn’t play on a team where he’s the featured player of an offense. Maxey is currently the third option on this Sixers team. You factor all of this into the fact that the Sixers are a top-two team in the East, Maxey certainly deserves more respect in this MIP race.
While Maxey most likely won’t win the award, I wouldn’t be surprised if he finds himself in this conversation again next season. After all, everyone raves about how hard of a worker he is.
Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports