In an appearance on The VC Show with Vince Carter this week, Rivers called Maxey “the most impressive young player” he has ever coached, specifically singling out his second-to-none work ethic.
“He’s the most impressive young player I’ve ever had, in 21 years of coaching,” Rivers told Carter. “His work ethic, Vince, is beyond belief.”
Rivers’ comments come after Maxey broke through as a star for the 76ers this season, averaging 17.5 points, 4.3 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game on 49% shooting, 43% from three and 86% from the line. He previously averaged 8.0 points, 2.0 assists and 1.7 rebounds per game as a rookie the year before.
A big reason for that jump in year two? His non-stop drive to improve his game. Rivers claimed that Maxey simply refuses to stop working, with the team telling him he needs to settle down and relax his body for a change.
The issue, though, is that the former Wildcat has never been on vacation and doesn’t know the first thing about relaxation. He had to ask for advice on how to take a vacation.
“Many times already this summer, already two or three times, we’ve had to tell him to go sit down somewhere and go relax,” Rivers said. “… He works with Sam Cassell and my son Spencer, they’re skill-developing coaches. He called Spencer two weeks ago because he went on vacation. The difference is this is the first vacation he’d ever been on in his entire life. That’s what he was telling us.
“I was like, ‘Wait, what?’ He was like, ‘No, I’ve never been on vacation. He asked Spencer, ‘What do you do on vacation?’ True question, what do you do on vacation? And Spence was like, ‘You relax!’ And [Tyrese goes], ‘For how long? For how many days? We’re going for a week, I can’t relax for a week.'”
During his lone season at Kentucky, Maxey averaged 14.0 points on 42.7% shooting to go with 4.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per contest en route to being selected No. 21 overall in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Seen as a projected lottery pick, the 76ers are now reaping the rewards of 20 other teams passing on the former Wildcat on draft night.