Tyrese Maxey caught many people’s attention when his 32-point performance helped the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Sacramento Kings on January 21. Among those who praised Maxey following his performance were NBA Hall-of-Famer and former Boston Celtics champion Kevin Garnett.
“Starter, off the Bench… whatever. Tyrese Maxey is special,” Garnett said while posting a robot arm flexing emoji.
Garnett also referenced the fact that the Sixers have now had Maxey come off the bench. However, Maxey started against the Kings because James Harden and Joel Embiid were both out.
Pulling off the win against the Kings, who are the no. 3 seed in the Western Conference, vaulted the Sixers to the no. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers beating one of the best teams in the West record-wise without their two all-stars is impressive on their part and on Maxey’s part for leading the way.
Coming Off the Bench Was Maxey’s Idea
Sixers head coach Doc Rivers revealed to reporters that having Maxey come off the bench was actually Maxey’s idea due to his pairing issues with James Harden.
“Tyrese actually texted me about this in the part about him,” Rivers told reporters, per Ky Carlin of Yahoo Sports. “I didn’t go to him. He went to me, which was really nice.”
Maxey confirmed Rivers’ words, believing that coming off the bench was best for the team while also stressing that multiple Sixers could start for the team.
“Yeah,” Maxey said. “I mean, sometimes, you gotta be the bigger person. I felt like it was kind of trending toward that way, but I’m a professional at the end of the day. I feel like I am a starter in this league, but I feel like our team is so good that I think we have multiple people starting.”
Since the switch, the Sixers have won every single one of their games, leading to a five-game winning streak and winning eight of their last 10 games.
Sixers Will Use Three Lineups Going Forward
Rivers revealed that the Sixers will have three starting lineups from here on out. Not only that, but whoever gets the start will depend on the Sixers’ opponent that night.
“We told our team that’s three lineups that we’ll be using for this point on,” Doc Rivers told reporters, per Carlin. “Some nights, it’d be to match up to them. Some nights, it’ll be to make them match up to us.”
Depending on the opponent, Maxey may very well be back with the starters when the team is at full strength. At full strength, the Sixers have yet to deploy any other starting lineup since moving Maxey to the bench and promoting De’Anthony Melton as a starter, but the Sixers have only been running with this since beating the Los Angeles Lakers on January 15.
Maxey’s scoring abilities could serve as a huge boost to the Sixers’ second unit, which could help Harden and Embiid rest for longer stretches of time.