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Evaluating Tyrese Maxey’s 2021-’22 improvements and where he ranks among NBA shooting guards

Hunter Simpson
Tyrese Maxey
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey proved to be one of the biggest steals in the 2020 NBA Draft, flashing impressive skills during his rookie season. He took things to another level in his second NBA season, averaging 17.5 PPG and emerging as one of the league’s blossoming guards.

The 76ers quickly fell in love with Maxey, keeping him off the table in trade negotiations with the belief he could be a crucial piece of a championship core. Before the 2022-’23 NBA season arrives, let’s examine Maxey’s improvements and where he stands compared to his peers.

Examining Tyrese Maxey’s improvements

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Washington Wizards
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Even with all of the support coming out of his rookie season, nobody expected Maxey to improve as much as he did, delivering a stellar 9.5 PPG improvement. While this is a very drastic increase, it isn’t even the most remarkable area where he stepped up his game. The one weakness that Maxey consistently showed in his rookie season was his three-point shooting and he transformed it in one offseason.

Tyrese Maxey splitsPPGFG%3PT %eFG%Corner 3s
2020-’21 season8.046.2%30.1%49.8%15.4%
2021-’22 season17.548.5%42.7%55.2%58.9%
Tyrese Maxey stats via Basketball Reference

Maxey finished his sophomore season with the third highest three-point percentage in the NBA. In just his second career postseason, Maxey led the Sixers in scoring as he averaged nearly 21 points per game. With Joel Embiid injured, Maxey was forced to step up alongside James Harden.

Regardless of the Sixers’ final outcome in the playoffs, Maxey stepped into that roll with ease. Even so, in the Sixers’ elimination game against the Heat, Maxey was more of a disappearing act. This type of play will likely fade as experience comes. The craziest thing about all of these stats is the fact that Maxey is only 22 years old.

Related: 50 Top NBA players of 2022 – Stephen Curry leads the charge after brilliant season

Ranking Tyrese Maxey among fellow shooting guards

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Philadelphia 76ers
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia will be looking for Maxey to make a push for consideration into the NBA All-Star game consideration next season. To achieve this goal, Maxey will need to be one of the best players at his position. 76ers’ insider Keith Pompey of the Philly Inquirer recently asked the question regarding where Maxey ranks among the best shooting guards in the league.

While the answer to this question will vary from person to person, let’s take a look at some statistics from last season via Statmuse.com.

In terms of scoring ranks, Maxey finished with the 13th highest points-per-game average amongst shooting guards. Maxey also finished in the top 10 for highest player efficiency ratings as a shooting guard. On the defensive end, he finished with the 12th most blocks per game by a shooting guard. As previously mentioned, he finished with the third highest three-point percentage behind only Desmond Bane and Luke Kennard.

Answering the Question

NBA: Playoffs-Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

With all of these stats taken into consideration, it’s hard to place where Maxey currently stands in his positional rankings. HoopsHype.com has him at nine ranked right behind CJ McCollum. More controversially, Klay Thompson and Tyler Herro are outside the top 10.

Disregarding the rest of the list and focusing specifically on Maxey, there isn’t an argument for Thompson, and Herro’s isn’t very solid. While it’s true that Herro was amazing coming off the bench this year – winning the Sixth Man of the Year award – he was very inconsistent. This was exposed in the playoffs as he averaged just 12.6 points per game throughout 15 games.

Circling back to Maxey’s postseason success, this makes Herro’s argument weaker. When matched up head-to-head, Maxey won this battle by far and the stats should put the debate to rest.

PPGFG%3PT %Game Score
Tyrese Maxey20.245.6%34.4%13.6
Tyler Herro14.744.6%37%10.5
NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals stats (Basketball Reference)

Now, to finally answer the question sparked by Keith Pompey, Maxey ranks somewhere between 8-10. In other words, HoopsHype.com was very spot on in their rankings. To put a number on it, Maxey will be put at 10 for now, moving Desmond Bane one spot above him. However, Maxey’s second-year leap demonstrates how quickly things can change and the emerging 76ers’ star hasn’t reached his ceiling.