Philadelphia 76ers: Is Tyrese Maxey to key to a deep playoff run?

Philadelphia 76ers Tyrese Maxey (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
Philadelphia 76ers Tyrese Maxey (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports) /

Could Tyrese Maxey be the key for a deep playoff run for the Philadelphia 76ers? 

Since the NBA Trade Deadline, a lot has been made of the new-look Philadelphia 76ers. Since James Harden’s debut with the team, the Sixers are 4-0 and look quite impressive. Over that four-game span, the Sixers have thrown their name into contender status in the Eastern Conference.

Harden looks like his old self again and Joel Embiid doesn’t have to be the team’s end-all, be-all on the offensive end. In four games with the Sixers, Harden is averaging 27 points, eight rebounds, and 12 assists per game. He’s also shooting 50 percent on his 3’s with the Sixers.

While the early indications suggest that the duo of Harden and Embiid seem overwhelming, I can’t help but think that there will be another player that could unlock the limitless ceiling for the Sixers this season.

Specifically, I think it’s only fair to consider that Tyrese Maxey may be the key to a long playoff run for the Sixers.

Before the Sixers even acquired Harden, there was a strong case that the team’s most important player was Maxey. And I don’t think much of that thinking has changed much.

In a playoff series, the Sixers are going to need a third consistent player to rise if they’re going to make a deep playoff run. We’ve seen that over the past few seasons with the Sixers.

The combination of Ben Simmons and Embiid wasn’t enough for the team to get over the hump in the Eastern Conference. I’m not sure if replacing Simmons with Harden is the simple solution. It could in theory, but looking at how good and deep the Eastern Conference is this season, I don’t think it’s that simple.

Maxey, on the other hand, could provide the Sixers with some significant scoring punch in the postseason as a third option. And it seems as if the arrival of Harden has opened some things up for him on that end of the floor.

In his last four games, Maxey is averaging 27 points per game on absurd shooting percentages (65% FG, 70% 3FG). It would be foolish to expect him to maintain that type of scoring output and efficiency, but it’s certainly a good sign for the team heading into the stretch run before the postseason.

Maxey is a rising star in the league and could get his moment in the postseason if he helps the Sixers make a deep playoff run and possibly get to the NBA Finals.

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At least through four games, the Sixers look like they’ve been the big winners of the Simmons-Harden trade. It’s early but this team will truly be judged by what they do in the postseason. And there’s no question that Harden and Embiid are going to need some help at some point. That’s where the Sixers should feel good about Maxey’s progression.