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76ers guard Tyrese Maxey named NBA’s Most Improved Player after breakout All-Star campaign

In Sports
April 24, 2024

Tyrese Maxey‘s scorching start to the NBA season has earned MVP chants from an appreciative Philadelphia crowd.

While his standout season didn’t secure the MVP trophy, it did land him some hardware. The NBA announced Tuesday that Maxey is the winner of the league’s Most Improved Player award.

The Philadelphia 76ers guard earned the honor over Houston Rockets center Alperen Şengün and Chicago Bulls guard Coby White, who were finalists thanks to their own noteworthy seasons.

Maxey secured 51 of 100 first-place votes and led the voting tally with 319 points. White finished second with 32 first-place votes and 305 points. Şengün earned six first-place votes and 92 points.

“For somebody like myself who prides myself for just putting in a lot of work and outworking people — finding a way to get 1% better every single time I step into the gym, it feels good for that to come to light,” Maxey told TNT upon winning the award.

Maxey also addressed Tuesday’s playoff loss to the New York Knicks, a game that saw the 76ers blow a five-point lead in the final 40 seconds amid multiple controversial no-calls that the NBA deemed incorrect Tuesday. The loss put the Sixers in an 0-2 playoff hole as the series shifts to Philadelphia.

“We’ve got to let it go,” Maxey said. “We had our time to grieve about it. That’s the past. Like y’all have said, they protect the home court. We have to do the same. …

“It is what it is,” he continued of the NBA’s conclusion that officials missed late calls. “We’ve got to let it go. We can’t dwell on it now. If we dwell on it, in a couple of days, we’ll be down 0-3. We don’t want to be down 0-3. … We can’t leave the games in other peoples’ hands. We’ve got to go out there and take it.”

Tyrese Maxey's first All-Star season earned him the NBA's Most Improved Player award.( Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)

Tyrese Maxey’s first All-Star season earned him the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. (Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)

Maxey, 23, set the tone in the season’s opening games while filling the void left by a then-holdout James Harden. Through the first three games, Maxey averaged 30.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 6.3 assists while shooting 56% from 3-point distance. The 76ers then traded Harden to the Los Angeles Clippers, leaving the Philadelphia backcourt in Maxey’s hands.

He responded by posting the first 50-point game of his career to cap an 8-1 76ers start. In February, he earned the first All-Star bid of his four-season NBA career. When the season was complete, he’d averaged 25.9 points, 6.2 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game while shooting 45% from the field and 37.3% from 3-point distance.

Maxey didn’t come out of nowhere. He averaged 20.3 points, 3.5 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game last season. The season prior earned him Most Improved Player votes after he more than doubled his rookie scoring average (8 points per game) with 17.5 points per game. But 2023-24 saw Maxey ascend to a new stratosphere, as he ranked in the top 20 in the league in both points and assists per game.

He did so as Philadelphia’s No. 2 scoring option behind reigning MVP Joel Embiid, though he frequently found himself as the go-to scorer with Embiid sidelined by injury. The 76ers earned the No. 7 seed in the playoffs, thanks in part to Maxey’s play keeping the team competitive while Embiid missed 43 of Philadelphia’s 82 regular-season games.

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