With James Harden‘s future in Philadelphia so up in the air, all eyes are on Tyrese Maxey to see how he is able handle being Joel Embiid’s running mate. There have been plenty of people who have expressed optimism that he’ll thrive in a larger role, and apparently, his old coach with the 76ers is of the belief that a monster season is incoming.
Doc Rivers sat down with Bill Simmons for an interview in the lead-up to the start of the season and offered a major endorsement to Maxey, saying that he has faith that he’ll rise to the occasion if Harden is moved for the right pieces.
Is Tyrese Maxey primed for a breakout season in Philly?
Doc Rivers says yes … if the Sixers can find a trade partner for James Harden: pic.twitter.com/CkyPVuz4Ko
— The Ringer (@ringer) October 25, 2023
“Maxey is ready, Bill,” Rivers said. “He is ready. Sam Cassell said it all last year to me, like, ‘He’s ready now, but you know, we got two guys.’ And so, I believed that. So, I do think if they make the right trade and allow Maxey to be Maxey, he’s ready, and that makes them a really good team.”
After a brief note from Simmons about how the team’s win total and playoff odds have both dropped recently, Rivers expressed that he shares Simmons’ belief about them being a solid team.
“They’re gonna get to the second round, and then, if healthy, they got Joel Embiid,” Rivers said. “My three years there, you knew you were gonna get there — unfortunately, Joel was never healthy, but if healthy? And no other stuff, you know what I mean. If James is there or James is gone, then you got a shot. But if you have the saga going on, plus not health, you have no chance.”
Maxey averaged a career-high 20.3 points in 33.6 minutes per game last season under Rivers.