76ers: Are Tyrese Maxey And Joel Embiid The Top Duo In The NBA?

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usa today 17554825.0

We are nearly three weeks thought the 2023-24 NBA season, and the Philadelphia 76ers look like one of the teams to beat in the league. At 8-1, they hold the best record in the Eastern Conference, and have won 6 straight games since trading away James Harden back on October 31st. One of the biggest keys to the team’s success has been guard Tyrese Maxey, who, along with Joel Embiid, has formed one of the top new duos in the NBA.

Maxey Drops 50; Do The 76ers Have The NBA’s Best 1-2 Punch?

Maxey had shown marked improvement during his first three years in the league. He started 41 of the 60 games that he played in last year, and averaged over 20 points per game, despite his shooting numbers taking a bit of a dip. But his usage rate was still lower than another player at the same position, as the 76ers were doing what they could to win with James Harden as the feature guard.

After a summer full of drama, Harden remained on the roster at the start of the season, but was turned away from the team plane when he tried to board for a toad trip, and failed to log a single minute with Philadelphia over the first week of the year. Trade rumors swirled, just as they had for months. Finally, on Halloween, Harden was granted his wish of wanting to be traded to the LA Clippers, and there was no superstar player coming back in the return package.

This meant shoes to fill for Tyrese Maxey, and he has done more than just that.

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In the first two games of the season, he scored a combined 65 points in over 40 minutes per. He hasn’t quite kept up that impressive pace, but his points average through the first eight games sat at 25.9, the 13th best mark in the league. More impressive have been Maxey’s assist numbers, as he finished with double-digits in the category in 3 of the previous 4 contests.

He exploded offensively in Sunday’s game against the Pacers. Maxey and Embiid finished with a combined 87 points, of which Maxey scored 50 himself. It marked a career high in points, and he became the youngest player since Allen Iverson in 1997 to score more than 45 points in a 76ers uniform.

Philadelphia’s impressive record and Maxey’s improved performance has the 76ers on contender watch. The East was predicted to be dominated by the Bucks and Celtics, with the rest of the teams on lower tiers, including the 76ers. The Celtics certainly look dangerous, but they are currently in second place behind Maxey and company, and the Bucks are in 8th place with a 5-4 record to start the year.

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