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Sixers rookie Tyrese Maxey is looking forward to ‘just playing basketball again’ | Off the Dribble

The 21st overall pick will play in a game for the first time since March 7 when he was with Kentucky.

Tyrese Maxey hasn't played in a basketball game since March. He's excited to get on the court Tuesday.
Tyrese Maxey hasn't played in a basketball game since March. He's excited to get on the court Tuesday.Read moreTodd Kirkland / MCT

Happy Monday, people!

I know it’s just the preseason, but a brother is eager to see what the 76ers look like in tomorrow night’s preseason opener against Boston Celtics at the Wells Fargo Center.

We’ll get a glimpse of the Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid pairing in the pick-and-roll. We’ll see how the addition of Danny Green and Seth Curry makes things easier for Simmons and Embiid. We’ll see how Doc Rivers utilizes Tobias Harris. And we’ll see how Tyrese Maxey fares in his first professional game.

Afterward, make sure to read The Inquirer to get the 411 about the game.

You’re signed up to get this newsletter in your inbox every Monday. If you like what you’re reading, tell your friends it’s free to sign up here. I want to know what you think, what we should add, and what you want to read, so send me feedback by email or on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers. Thank you for reading.

— Keith Pompey (

Maxey to make preseason debut

The last time Tyrese Maxey played in a basketball game was on March 7 when his Kentucky Wildcats defeated Florida 71-70 Florida in the regular-season finale. The pandemic robbed him of playing in the Southeastern Conference tournament, the NCAA tournament and the NBA summer league.

So what is he looking forward to tomorrow night?

“Just playing basketball again,” said Maxey, who was selected by the Sixers 21st overall in the Nov. 19 NBA draft. “Getting to play five on five in practice is amazing just because last year ended so abruptly. Just playing, the love of the game, the job, being competitive again, all that is what I am looking forward to.”

The 20-year-old has been paying attention to the preseason games since they started on Friday. He’s been keeping tabs on the other rookies and friends in the league.

“It is weird, I was sitting with my mom and dad [Saturday] night and they were saying it is crazy how many people we know,” Maxey said. “How many people I played against or how many people they know.

“And it is just an amazing feeling seeing guys reach their dreams and go out there and be successful.”

His opportunity comes tomorrow against the Celtics.

Starting Five

  1. Sixers looking for Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid pick-and-roll combo to create chaos. “When both of them are in pick-and-roll space with three other shooters, it is tough to guard,” Tobias Harris said.

  2. Despite going unnoticed in Sixers hype, things are setting up for Harris to have a successful season. Doc Rivers on Harris: “You are going to see him going downhill more. You are just going to see him be more decisive, making quicker decisions.”

  3. Sixers are still behind Bucks, Nets, Celtics, Heat and Raptors in Eastern Conference | Mailbag. The Sixers have added much-needed shooting in Seth Curry and Danny Green. However, they still lack a perimeter player who’s an established go-to scorer.

  4. Green’s leadership qualities and championship resume should have a major impact on the Sixers. Danny Green joins Terrance Ferguson and Vincent Poirier as new additions.

  5. Rivers shares high praise for Dwight Howard at Sixers camp. The Sixers coach commended the big man’s leadership and seamless transition before the start of the NBA season.

KD’s impressive showing

Kevin Durant was back on the court, playing a game for the first time in 552 days.

While the result didn’t count, the Brooklyn Nets forward showed he’s still the same dominant player he was with the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder. Durant had 15 points while playing 24 minutes in the Nets’ 119-114 preseason victory over the Washington Wizards on Sunday at the Barclays Center.

This marked Durant’s first game since he tore his Achilles tendon while with the Warriors in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals on June 10, 2019. He went to the Nets via a sign-and-trade on July 7, 2019 and sat out last season.

Important Dates

Tomorrow: Boston Celtics at Sixers, 7:30 p.m., Wells Fargo Center, TNT, NBA Sports Philadelphia (Preseason game)

Friday: Sixers at Indiana Pacers, 6 p.m., Bankers Life Fieldhouse, NBA Sports Philadelphia (Preseason game)

Dec. 23: Washington Wizards at Sixers 7 p.m., Wells Fargo Center, NBC Sports Philadelphia

Dec. 26: Sixers at New York Knicks, 7:30 p.m., NBA-TV, Madison Square Garden, NBC Sports Philadelphia

Dec. 27: Sixers at Cleveland Cavaliers, 7:30 p.m., Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Passing the Rock

Question: What is the biggest hole on our roster? — @Sixercountry on Twitter

Answer: What’s up? Thanks for the great question. As I’ve written before, they need a dependable perimeter player who can consistently get a bucket. They need someone who can finish an isolation play and close out games.