Over the weekend Drew Hanlen, star trainer, posted that he would be disappointed if Tyrese Maxey did not average at least 25 points in this upcoming season. The two have been working out together all summer getting ready for what is shaping up to be most important year of Maxey’s career. This year is so important not just because of the James Harden situation, but this is also a contract year for Maxey where he could cement himself as a max-contract player in the NBA. This also very well might be the team’s last chance to make a serious championship run before Joel Embiid begins weighing his options and looking to have a fresh start with a new team. With all of this pressure on Maxey this year, does he have what it takes meet both his trainer and fans expectations?
Yes – Maxey is more than talented enough to average 25 or more in the NBA, but the real question that comes to mind when thinking about this challenge, is his mentality. Tyrese has been vital to the Sixers success over the past couple of seasons, showing signs of being a future perennial all-star, being a dynamic scorer at all three levels. However, there are other nights where he looks somewhat lost out there, like he is unsure if he should be looking for his shot or deferring to other players on the team. That all needs to change if he wants to take another leap this season and become the player the Sixers need him to be and clearly his trainer expects him to be.
There should not be a single game this season where any fan, player, or coach who questions whether or not Tyrese was playing with that attacking mindset. No more deferring to others, he should be in attack mode all night, looking to score every time down the court. Watching him against Boston in this most recent playoff series really highlighted the need for this mentality change for Maxey. Too many times during the series, fans had to double check if Maxey was even playing during certain stretches of the game. He struggled throughout the season against Boston and he allowed that to affect his play in the series. He became very passive and spent far too many possessions looking to be a spot up shooter, instead of being aggressive and attacking the defense.
For Maxey to take the next step, he needs to have the same mentality Jayson Tatum (also a Drew Hanlen client) showed against the Sixers in the same series. Tatum struggled Games 1 through 6, but never let that affect his confidence or play throughout the series. He attacked and put pressure on the Sixers every time he touched the ball, until eventually he finally got it going and ended up closing out the Sixers in dramatic fashion. Maxey needs that level of unwavering confidence and belief in himself to reach the next level and become the 25 ppg second all-star that Joel Embiid has been looking for his whole career.