The Philadelphia 76ers have had a bit of a wild 2022 offseason so far. Rumors initially persisted that James Harden may already have been looking for a way off of Philly, but those were quickly put to rest, and he eventually signed a two-year $68.64 million extension with the Sixers. In addition to bringing back Harden, Philadelphia brought in some more help with guys like P.J. Tucker, Danuel House Jr., and De'Anthony Melton.
There's been some turnover for the 76ers this offseason, but that's what happens when you fall short like they did last season. They are looking to find a way to help star center Joel Embiid lead them to a championship. And maybe the most important player, aside from Embiid, on the Sixers roster is one of the guys that has flown under the radar this offseason; Tyrese Maxey.
Rivers believes Maxey is a vital piece of the 76ers' future
Amid all the Ben Simmons drama that plagued the start of Philadelphia's 2021-22 campaign, Maxey stepped up and put together a breakout campaign for the 76ers. He became an invaluable secondary scorer behind Embiid, and without him, a season that was already pretty rocky would have managed to look even worse.
While everyone is paying attention to Embiid and Harden, or Philly's new cast of bench players, Maxey may be the most important player for the 76ers next season. And that's not lost on Sixers head coach Doc Rivers, who hopped on a recent episode of the VC Show with Vince Carter to sing Maxey's praises as the young star prepares for the upcoming season.
"Well, he's the most impressive young player I've ever had in 21 years of coaching, so that's how impressive he is. His work ethic, Vince, is beyond belief. Many times, already this summer like two or three times, we've had to tell him to go sit down somewhere and go relax." - Doc Rivers, The VC Show
Maxey could be the X-factor for the 76ers next season
Maxey has proven to be a key piece of the Sixers' future. He will pair up with Harden in the backcourt again next season, a player Maxey credited with helping him "blossom" during his breakout campaign. Add Embiid into the equation, and that's a pretty solid trio right off the bat.
Based on Rivers' comments here, it may not be crazy to expect Maxey to improve again during the upcoming season. He made some serious strides in his game during his first season as a starter, and now he's going to have a shot to continue to improve alongside Harden and Embiid for an entire season. Opposing teams will certainly struggle to figure out how to slow this team down.
Maxey has already impressed Rivers early on in his career, and it's important to remember that he's still just 21 years old. As he continues to improve, so will the Sixers, which is why another campaign of improvement could make Philadelphia one of the teams to beat in the Eastern Conference moving forward.