Tyrese Maxey details his mindset in defensive improvement for Sixers

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PHILADELPHIA–In order for Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey to take the next step in his NBA career, he has to give something on the defensive end. Everybody knows he can score and shoot the ball, but he has to give something defensively.

In recent games, Maxey has shown an ability to apply pressure in the backcourt. In Monday’s win over the Houston Rockets, he was all over the place forcing Jalen Green and Jae’Sean Tate to have to take precious seconds off the shot clock before getting into their offensive sets.

“I’m just trying to find ways to be impactful and be disruptive,” said Maxey. “Getting to the ball every single time when the pick-and-roll comes and try to pick up the ball, make guys tired, and make them exert energy and exert clock. So now when they get the ball past half court, they get it right past at 16 seconds and now they’re gonna get into the offense with 13 seconds and it’s hard to run offense in 13 seconds. You got probably one or two passes and then shoot. So I try to be as disruptive as I can.”

Being disruptive is how Maxey can help and contribute on defense. When he is able to use his speed and quickness to be active on that end, then he has the ability to cause some havoc and force the opposition to rush into their sets.

That is what the Sixers want him to understand and it appears he has. Per Cleaning the Glass, he had a steals percentage of 2.7% against the Rockets and it was 4.3% in a Feb. 10 win over the New York Knicks.

“Just us talking to him,” said coach Doc Rivers. “What can you bring to the game defensively? I said it the other day, when you cross half court, you get really small, but when you’re on the other side and you pick up the ball and you pressure, you can use your quickness and be big in a lot of ways and he’s doing that.”

In the half-court, Maxey is still having some issues defending his man, but defensive improvement is obvious. Nothing happens overnight and he will just have to keep working on that end in order to become a legitimate two-way player.

“In the half court, we’re getting him to be more physical,” Rivers added. “Instead of surrender, hold him. Taking a stand that you’re not gonna slide back anymore and he’s doing that and it’s been good for us. We need it.”

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