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Tyrese Maxey Reacts to Ben Simmons' Return to Sixers

All 76ers
All 76ers
 2021-10-14
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On Monday night, the Philadelphia 76ers faced the Brooklyn Nets without a healthy point guard available. Last week, two-way guard Grant Riller tore his meniscus, which ended his preseason prematurely. Then, Tyrese Maxey and Shake Milton, who have been battling it out for the starting spot, were both ruled out due to minor setbacks.

Ben Simmons' absence is the reason the Sixers are unsure about the starting point guard position heading into the regular season. As the disgruntled star requested a trade months ago, he refused to show up for training camp and preseason games.

However, he's somewhat back in the mix. While it's unclear if Simmons is back in town to actually suit up and play for the 76ers again, he's currently taking the proper steps for a return to the floor and could reunite with the team as early as Friday.

Like Sixers starters such as Joel Embiid, Danny Green, and Seth Curry, Maxey is excited about the idea of potentially having the 25-year-old three-time All-Star back in the mix as the regular season approaches.

"That's great," Maxey said following Thursday's practice session. "We're a better team with Ben. You know, I'm glad to have him back. We're gonna keep talking to him and keep trying to keep him as a part of this team."

If and when Simmons returns to the lineup, Maxey could see his role affected. Without Simmons around, the second-year guard had a shot at cracking Philly's starting lineup. If he were to lose the battle for the starting spot, though, Maxey would still find himself earning significant minutes coming off the bench. Now, he could end up battling it out with Milton for backup minutes.

Regardless of how Simmons' return affects the young guard, Maxey made it clear that he's going to keep his focus. He'll do so by utilizing a similar strategy as he did during his rookie season in the NBA.

"You have to be mentally focused and mentally locked in," Maxey explained. "You know, at the end of the this is a job, and whatever the situation is, you have to be ready and be prepared for it. Last year, I think it's the biggest test of my life as far as not knowing when I was gonna play and not knowing what my role was gonna be. But one thing I always told myself is I'm gonna stay ready for the moment and do whatever this team needs me to do. Whatever I need to do to help this team win, and that's just my message again this year."

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.

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