Several NBA teams opened their Summer League runs on Sunday, but the league delivered another jam-packed slate on Monday. In one of the afternoon contests, the Philadelphia 76ers walloped the Dallas Mavericks, leading by more than 30 points and eventually claiming a 22-point win after easing off the pedal after halftime. Six players scored at least nine points for the Sixers, and Philadelphia enjoyed intriguing performances from players like Paul Reed, Isaiah Joe and 2021 first-round pick Jaden Springer.
However, the standout effort came from 2020 first-round selection Tyrese Maxey, who put his entire arsenal on display. Maxey, who was a prominent member of Philadelphia’s rotation at times last season, wasted no time making his presence known in Las Vegas. In fact, the 20-year-old guard from Kentucky scored 14 points in the opening period, including a buzzer-beating drive and finish.
Before halftime, Maxey was able to establish his well-rounded offensive attack, particularly with his jump shot. That included a trio of three-point connections, and he had 19 points at the break to lead Philadelphia to a 26-point advantage.
— NBA (@NBA) August 9, 2021
If not for the non-competitive nature of the matchup on the scoreboard, Maxey may have joined Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley in exceeding the 30-point barrier in the early portion of Summer League. He had 21 points with 7:40 remaining in the third quarter, though Maxey never scored again and played sparingly after halftime. When Maxey did play, the Mavericks clearly decided to take him away as a scoring option, with Dallas rather amusingly sending two defenders in his direction on a regular basis.
Crucially, Maxey was able to connect on three of his six attempts from long distance, which unlocks his offensive profile. Maxey has a devastating floater game and tremendous touch, with those traits evident dating back to his collegiate days in Lexington. However, there have been questions about his shooting form and accuracy since before the draft, and Maxey will need to do more to erase those doubts after a rookie season in which he buried only 30.1 percent of his threes on limited volume.
If Maxey is able to establish himself as a solid-or-better shooter, especially off the dribble in pick-and-roll settings, there is very little he can’t accomplish as a combo guard. Philadelphia likely won’t lean on him as a primary initiator on a regular basis, both because the Sixers have title aspirations in 2022 and because Maxey is perhaps best suited in a secondary role. At the same time, he could provide them with another option to initiate the offense on the ball, and Maxey is also comfortable as a cutter offensively and as a very strong defender at the point of attack.
It is never wise to overstate the importance of Summer League, especially in a one-game sample. Still, Tyrese Maxey was fantastic in his opening effort, scoring nearly a point per minute on strong efficiency and creating positive questions about whether he has anything left to prove in the unique setting that is Las Vegas in August.