LAS VEGAS — Second-year players have been known to frown upon having to play in the NBA Summer League, especially ones who had some success as rookies.
But practicing and playing here gives Tyrese Maxey an appreciation for how summer league prepares players for an upcoming season. Due to the pandemic, the NBA didn’t have a summer league last year.
Maxey was drafted by the 76ers in the first round on Nov. 18, reported to training camp in early December, had two preseason games, and began the regular season on Dec. 23 against the Washington Wizards.
“I was only at training camp for like two days,” he said, “and I thrown in the fire in Game 1. I was just telling somebody in the NBA level that everybody is good, everybody is prepared. I was guarding [former Wizards reserve guard] Ish Smith my first game. He comes in off the bench, runs right past me and make a layup.
“Doc [Rivers] is screaming. All the coaches are yelling at me. I’m like, ‘Bruh, dang, he just subbed in and came right at me.’ But yeah, it is a cool experience to be at summer league and get this experience.”
Maxey had a team-high 21 points as the Sixers rolled to a 95-73 NBA Summer League victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday at the Thomas & Mack Center. The Sixers (1-0) will face the Atlanta Hawks (1-1) at 9 p.m. Thursday at the Cox Pavilion.
Maxey averaged eight points and two assists in 61 games with eight starts last season.
Unsigned Bassey still plugging away
As of Wednesday night, second-round pick Charles Bassey still didn’t have a contract with the Sixers. His agent held him out of the summer-league opener. The belief is that he’ll remain sidelined until he gets a contract.
While NBA rosters are limited to 15 players with normal contracts during the regular season, teams are allowed to carry up to 20 players during the offseason.
The Sixers have 15 players with normal contracts and two two-way deals.
Thirteen of the Sixers’ normal contracts are guaranteed, while Anthony Tolliver and Paul Reed are on non-guaranteed deals. Tolliver’s contract will become guaranteed if he remains on the roster past Sept. 6.
Meanwhile, Rayjon Tucker and undrafted rookie Aaron Henry are signed to two-way deals.
Despite his situation, Bassey was on the bench cheering on the Sixers Monday and has remained a fixture at practice. The center out of Western Kentucky even participated in Tuesday’s optional workout.
“These are my guys,” Bassey said of the Sixers players. “No matter what, I’m going to be on the floor with them even though I wanted to play, but I can’t.”
He continues to practice as a way to get better, learn from the coaches, and bond with the players.
Bassey was asked if thinks he’ll get a contract at summer league.
“I don’t know,” he said. “But I hope it gets done. ... If it doesn’t, I’m still going to be there for my teammates, supporting my teammates and working hard every day.”
Rivers reunites with former longtime Celtics assistant
Jamie Young has replaced Popeye Jones on the Sixers coaching staff, a league source confirmed. Young is with the team here at the summer league. He joins the Sixers after spending 21 seasons with the Boston Celtics. Young was an advance scout for the Celtics in 2008 when Rivers led the team to the NBA title.
Rivers has praised Young for his “incredible work ethic” and “great basketball mind.” Now, the two will reunite.
The Athletic was first to report the Young news. Jones left the Sixers to accept an assistant coaching job with the Denver Nuggets.