NBA: 5 Biggest and most telling pre-season takeaways

NBA San Antonio Spurs Victor Wembanyama (Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports)
NBA San Antonio Spurs Victor Wembanyama (Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Tyrese Maxey
Philadelphia 76ers Tyrese Maxey (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports) /

Tyrese Maxey year four leap?

With James Harden away from the team the Philadelphia 76ers have relied on Tyrese Maxey to handle most of the scoring and playmaking responsibilities left behind. Prior to this year, Maxey wasn’t considered a great playmaker but certainly not a bad one either. One thing has been apparent even since Harden was on the team, Maxey’s numbers are noticeably better without Harden.

This is in large part because Maxey gets to handle the ball more and from preseason so far, his pick-and-roll chemistry with Joel Embiid has been beautiful. In the third quarter against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, Maxey and Embiid absolutely torched them in the pick-and-roll. Embiid rolling to the basket combined with Tyrese Maxey’s quickness off the dribble and 40 percent three-point shot makes for a deadly combination that will be a problem for defenses.

Maxey has been making the right decisions and is not forcing the issue when teams collapse on Joel Embiid. It’s too early to tell whether the playmaking improvement is for real, the biggest question is how will it look without Embiid on the floor, but for right now it’s clear Maxey has made some improvements this summer and is ready to take the leap.