Over the past week, the Sixers have been faced with plenty of turmoil due to NBA COVID regulations.

Beginning first with Seth Curry being pulled from the game, the Sixers lost to the Brooklyn Nets. This was followed by the team being forced to somehow play a game against the Denver Nuggets in which only seven players were active, which is against NBA rules.

This was then followed by a game against the Atlanta Hawks with only two starters active in Joel Embiid and Danny Green. And now, at the time of writing, the Sixers are still expected to play yet another game against the Miami Heat, who are faced with a thinned-out roster because of COVID protocols themselves.

Photo: Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer

Through all of this turmoil, however, there has been one incredible bright spot for the Sixers: rookie guard Tyrese Maxey. Because of the thinned-out roster, Maxey has been forced into a starting role and extended minutes, far beyond what he had seen in the young season thus far. The best part for both Maxey and the Sixers is that Maxey has indeed stepped up to the challenge.

While Maxey had truly been playing some great basketball before all of the roster limitations due to COVID began for the Sixers, Maxey has proven himself as a player who demands more minutes once the rest of the team is available to play.

Along with that, Maxey is slowly but surely staking his claim as a potential Rookie of the Year candidate.

Maxey is certainly facing some tough completion, though. Maxey is currently tied for the 10th best odds to win the award behind notable names like Tyrese Haliburton of the Sacramento Kings, Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves, James Wiseman of the Golden State Warriors, and the current odds on favorite to win the award, LaMelo Ball of the Charlotte Hornets. What Maxey lacks compared to these names are starter’s minutes. Some of these guys even start for their teams, which should not come as a surprise as they were all high draft picks.

There are, in fact, only two players with better odds than Maxey, who were drafted after him in Payton Pritchard (Boston Celtics) and Immanuel Quickley (New York Knicks). In Pritchard’s case, Boston has played without Kemba Walker and has therefore needed Pritchard to play extended minutes. And Quickley is on the Knicks, who have been building through the draft and will allow younger players to garner more playing time.

So what does Tyrese Maxey need to do to improve his stock in the Rookie of the Year race?

It is fair to assume that once the players who are currently out due to COVID protocols come back, Maxey’s minutes will shrink. However, it is also reasonable to assume that because he has played at such a high level while those players have been out, that he will receive more minutes and continue to move up in the rotation.

What Maxey needs to do is make the most of those minutes. He has proven to be an excellent offensive player who can mature into a great one. He has also been very stout defensively, which only furthers the case for him to get more minutes once the rest of the team returns. If Maxey can continue to grow and potentially crack the starting lineup, he will have a real shot to win Rookie of the Year.

What do you think about Tyrese Maxey?
Can Maxey win Rookie of the Year?

Featured Image: Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer
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