The Philadelphia 76ers selected Tyrese Maxey 21st overall in Wednesday’s NBA draft. The 6’3″ Kentucky guard has an impressive mindset to go along with his physical tools. TPL spoke with Maxey immediately after the draft and again Thursday morning. Here are some first impressions. 

Hybrid Guard 

Maxey cited Jrue Holiday & Jamaal Murray as “hybrid guards were able to do most of the things to run a team & get their teammates involved. Facilitate & score while they’re playing on the ball, & also getting off the ball & do different things.” “The league has changed so much,” said Maxey, who talked at length about being able to operate off-ball with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. 

Philly Reputation

When asked about what he’s heard about Philadelphia, its fans, and the reputation for toughness, Maxey said, “I think that’s right up my alley, to be honest. And I know that’s how I grew up, with the grit and toughness, and you know that’s [in] my blood.”

On Connections to Lebron and Ben

“I stay consistent. I’ve been in the gym [in] LA since May, & I’ve been in working every single day.” Said Maxey worked out in the same training facility as Lebron James and Ben Simmons until this week. Maxey continued, “They always see me put in the work & grind & I think that’s why we had that connection.”. I asked him about Lebron, congratulating him with a strong endorsement via Twitter, and he replied, “It’s been great having guys like LeBron & Ben as older brothers & mentors.” 

On What He is Focused on Improving

Maxey says he is shooting 800 threes per day in the gym and committed to proving he’s a much better shooter from range than his college stats would suggest. Maxey shot just 29% from three in a small sample size at Kentucky but says he is prepared to take threes off the catch and dribble from anywhere on the floor. 

Working on it all working on at all, off of different actions off the dribble. you have to have all that in today’s game. if you can  knock down shots from everywhere on the court, wide open threes. especially now playing with a guy like Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid will cause a lot of tension [on opposing defenses]. So that’s, that’s the main focus on somebody like me in today’s game.

On His Improved Burst

Maxey says he has added 3-4″ on her vertical leap since the last college season. That would be a game-changing type of progression in an athletic burst for a guard who already displays impressive athleticism and fluidity. 

On Joining a Winning Team 

“I like to win,” Tyrese Maxey discusses joining a team already in contention. “I was talking to my parents about it. I felt like I can go in and make an immediate impact on a contending team.”