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The Rise of Tyrese Maxey: 76ers’ Rookie Set to Become NBA’s Next Breakout Star

Joel Embiid was in a great mood and stopped to interject when he overheard a teammate praising Tyrese Maxey. “Tyrese is a leader? That’s the first time I ever heard that,” Embiid said, laughing. “You don’t think I’m a leader,” a smiling Maxey called out. The reigning NBA MVP wasn’t even trying to keep a straight face as he teased Maxey.

Yes, Tyrese Maxey, just 23 years old, may be more than Philadelphia’s leader. Maxey has shattered expectations on his way to becoming one of the top guards in the NBA. A max contract and possible All-Star berth seem to be on the horizon for him. He has all the talent needed to be the homegrown star that forms a durable 1-2 punch with Embiid. Unlike previous disgruntled guards, Ben Simmons wanted out and Jimmy Butler and James Harden were not the solution.

Maxey played the game of his career in Sunday’s 137-126 victory over Indiana. Maxey shot 20 of 32 overall, hit seven 3-pointers, and added seven rebounds, five assists, and three blocked shots. He became the ninth Sixers player to score 50 and joined the ranks of Embiid, Iverson, Malone, and Chamberlain.

His relationship with Embiid is a central component to his fast start. Maxey compared Embiid to a big brother who is “on me every single day” to get better. He also approved of Maxey on social media, calling him “THE FRANCHISE!!!”

With Simmons and Harden out of his way, Maxey has blossomed in the final season of a rookie deal that pays him $4.3 million. Maxey is set to become a restricted free agent next summer, though the 76ers can match the terms of any offer sheet and could sign him to a maximum-level contract this summer. That’s a potential massive payday ahead for the guard out of Kentucky.