Fri. Jan 27th, 2023

PHILADELPHIA — After missing well over a month of action due to a left foot injury, Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey has come off of the bench in each of his first two games back out on the floor. And the plan is for him to continue in that role, at least for the time being while he rediscovers his rhythm, according to coach Doc Rivers. 

Playing in a reserve role is a bit of adjustment for the electric young guard after he started in 74 games last season, and the first 15 games of the current campaign, but he’s doing his best to embrace the change. Maxey mostly came off of the bench during his rookie campaign, so he’s leaning on that experience. Ultimately, he’s just happy to be back out on the floor with his teammates. 

“It is a little bit different, but it’s fine,” Maxey said of coming off of the bench. “I did it my rookie year, it’s just a little bit different because I’ve started so many games over the course of the last two years in a row, I guess. I’m just really glad to be back out there. Starting, off the bench, it really doesn’t matter. I’m happy to be back out there.”  

While Maxey is happy to be back on the court, the fans in Philadelphia are equally happy regarding his return. He was showered with applause when he entered the game against the New Orleans Pelicans for the first time on Monday night. 

The cheers from those fans helped give Maxey an extra boost in his first home game since November. In 27 minutes of action against the Pelicans, Maxey tallied 12 points, two assists and a rebound. His production helped the Sixers pull out a 120-111 victory. 

“They gave me an extra boost,” Maxey said of the Philadelphia faithful. “The boost doesn’t help the ball go through the net, but the boost does help your energy and you’re flying around to help your teammates try to get some stops and different things like that.” 

Maxey’s numbers since his return aren’t eye-popping, but you can see him growing increasingly comfortable on the court. Some level of rust was to be expected after an extended stint on the sideline, but the more Maxey plays, the more he should start to look like his usual self. 

“It’s just being comfortable,” Maxey said after the Pelicans game. “Being comfortable and taking the shots that you know that you can make. [My] rhythm is kind of thrown off just because it’s been a month and a half or however long it’s been but, I felt really comfortable. I felt comfortable guarding, I think that was one of the main things that has to come back. I felt comfortable switching and running in transition and flying up and down the court.” 

It remains to be seen what Maxey’s exact role will be moving forward, whether he is eventually moved back into a starting spot or if he continues to come off of the bench. He certainly deserves to start, but there is an argument to be made that him staying in a reserve role could be best for Philadelphia. Either way, Maxey will continue to be central to the Sixers’ success, so seeing him back out on the floor is a major positive for the franchise. 

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