Philadelphia 76ers

Tyrese Maxey showing he could be the steal of the draft as he breathes new life into 76ers bench

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The Philadelphia 76ers made several moves in the offseason addressing some of their biggest needs in the shooting department, adding Seth Curry and Danny Green, with their impact felt almost immediately.

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Another key area that required attention was their backup point guard situation, with Shake Milton earning the bulk of those minutes last season, while Josh Richardson provided some ball-handling with Ben Simmons off the floor.

Rather than scouring the free-agent market for a backup playmaker, the 76ers used the No. 21 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft to select Kentucky's Tyrese Maxey and through seven games, the 20-year-old is staking a claim for those minutes with a string of impressive cameos off the bench.

In Philly's 118-101 win over the Charlotte Hornets, Maxey turned in an energetic two-way performance, recording a career-high 11 points, adding two rebounds, two assists, one steal and zero turnovers in his 21 minutes on court with no shortage of highlights.

Last season, the 76ers ranked 26th in bench scoring and the presence of Maxey not only gives them a player who can lead the second unit, but change the tempo of the game with his blinding speed and scoring ability, earning praise from head coach Doc Rivers.

"There's this narrative that he went down in the draft because he couldn't shoot. I haven't seen a lick of that," Rivers said. "He's going to be a terrific player for us."

Rivers has found a strong balance between his starters and the second unit so far, with Maxey, Milton, Matisse Thybulle and Dwight Howard giving them depth across the board.

The new head coach has also quickly re-invigorated Tobias Harris, who played some of the best basketball of his career under Rivers with the LA Clippers. Fresh off being named Eastern Conference Player of the Week, Harris turned in another impressive performance against Charlotte, leading seven players in double figures with 22 points, five rebounds and two assists on an efficient 10-of-16 shooting from the field.

Ben Simmons added 12 points, 10 rebounds and six assists on the night, while Joel Embiid finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.

The 76ers have now won four games in a row and sit top of the Eastern Conference with a 6-1 record.

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