Last summer, the Philadelphia 76ers were in an awkward position. Ben Simmons wanted out, but the team lacked any playmakers even close to the all-stars he produced each night.
Throughout the winter, rumors swirled that bouncers like Therese Halliburton and Daron Fox could be swapped with Simmons. In theory, the two players would have at least put together an aid to the play-industry drought that has arisen in Simmons’ absence.
But rather than needing to look outside for improvement, it turns out that Philadelphia’s answer to a hole the size of Ben Simmons was already on the list. Well kinda. Yes, the team got a huge boost in the play industry by replacing Simmons with James Harden. But Philadelphia also benefited from the meteoric rise of Tyrese Maxey.
In his second season, Maxi took a huge leap forward. The former Kentucky Wildcat increased his points total from 8.0 per night to 17.5, while also seeing his passing numbers double, going from two assists per game as a rookie to 4.3 last season.
Meanwhile, Simmons has not played a single game of basketball in the NBA. Even after packing his bags for Brooklyn, Simmons lost some time with a back problem.
These two disparate tracks are likely the reason Maxey’s 2K rating jumped on Simmons for the upcoming season. Maxey has a rating of 85, while Simmons slips to 83, with an outrageous 58 rating for his three-point shooting.
Maxi numbers inflated while Simmons rating sank
Last season, Maxey was ranked number 76 by the platform games. Given the fact that he was a late pick in the first round, the number is not surprising. It also highlights Maxi’s role last season – far from being a regular starter, Maxi was more than a spark that landed him on the bench.
But Maxi raised his rating by nine points, thanks to a huge jump he made last season with the Sixers. But that jump probably wouldn’t have happened had Simmons not quit. The slate slot opened a niche and Maxi willingly grabbed it and made it his own.
While Maxey’s star is on the rise, Simmons’ rating also underscores how he sees the basketball world. After a year’s sabbatical, Simmons’ 2023 rating at 83 is one point lower than last season (84), and a full four points lower than the 2020-21 rating at 87.
The serious stumble underscores Simmons’ current standing in the NBA. Back in 2020, he was still seen as a vital piece at the core of the Sixers Championship. But after claiming a trade, failing to develop any outside leap, and suffering from questions about his love for the game, his promising future is in doubt.
A look around the 2K roster of Sixers
Overall, Sixers boast one of the most well-rounded 2K rosters. Philadelphia is listed as a “Team of Tier 1” on the gaming platform, along with the Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat, Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Denver Nuggets, Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics.
And Philadelphia’s overall rating of 83 lags just behind the Boston Celtics (84) at the top of the game. Each of the top five players had a rating of 80 or higher, with key depth cuts in PJ Tucker, Montrezl Harrell and Matisse Thybulle all receiving a rating of 77 or higher.
But the best of the crop is Joel Embiid, who has a rating of 96 with a 2K rating, trailing only Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo for the highest rating in the game.
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