Tyrese Maxey experienced his first in-person NBA practice on Tuesday, though the Sixers’ schemes weren’t entirely foreign to him.
After testing positive for COVID-19, the 21st pick in this year’s draft had been reviewing film of practice on Zoom with assistant coaches. Both Maxey and Mike Scott, who’d also tested positive for COVID-19, were cleared to participate in non-contact portions of Tuesday’s practice and are expected to join group workouts Wednesday. Another participation-related item of note: Matisse Thybulle has been a limited practice participant because of a left ankle sprain.
Maxey was glad to be on the floor and around his teammates Tuesday, even if it wasn’t in a full capacity.
“You pick up on certain things watching film over and over,” Maxey said of his virtual practice experience. “You get to replay it and different things like that — it’s not in real time. You kind of break it down in slow motion and still frame. It was good to see it today, see it in person and hear different coaches’ voices. I’m just ready to get out there.”
Maxey said he lost his sense of taste and smell but felt fine otherwise, while Scott said he had COVID-19 symptoms in mid-November and “was going through it.” For Maxey, a 20-year-old combo guard who’s enthusiastic about all things basketball, it was important to minimize the conditioning losses of a mandated period away from the sport.
“Of course I had to quarantine and relax,” he said. “One thing I did was I asked my mom, as soon as I tested positive, to bring everything to my little section and I would lift weights and different things like that, just to try to stay in tune. … It’s weird being at home in your room, having to act like you’re sick. Just staying safe because I didn’t want any of my family members to get it. I’m still ready.”
Scott was focused on his body this offseason after he missed the Sixers’ first three games at Disney World with right knee soreness and swelling. The 32-year-old forward thought that carrying extra weight might have contributed to the knee issues and said he’s lost 10 pounds, with the intent to drop more.
“(Former Hawks and current Clippers assistant) Kenny Atkinson used to always tell me, ‘Once your body’s feeling good, once your body’s right, everything else will come,’” Scott said. “Getting back to that. Getting back to making sure my body’s right, making sure I’m getting my shots.
"Just going out there and doing your job. We have the personnel now with floor spacing and playing a lot on the perimeter and moving the ball — same kind of offense I used to play in Atlanta. Getting back to that stuff I feel like will be great for me.”
While the Sixers' trade with the Thunder was officially announced on Tuesday morning and the newest members of the team have arrived in Philadelphia, they weren’t practicing just yet. Danny Green, Terrance Ferguson and Vincent Poirier were undergoing medicals Tuesday and are expected to be part of Wednesday’s practice, according to the team.
As a reminder, the Sixers sent Al Horford, the rights to the 34th selection in this draft (Théo Maledon), the rights to 2014 second-round pick Vasilije Micić and a 2025 first-round selection protected for picks No. 1 through 6 to Oklahoma City.
“We know exactly how we want to utilize Danny,” Rivers said of Green, who has a long resume as a 3-and-D wing. “The other two will be more positional players, effort players. They’re both skilled, they both can do things. Danny is a vet; I’m going to put him in a veteran role. He knows how to play off of talent and he’s done a great job of that.
“He’s been fortunate in his career, when you think about it, with all the great players he’s been able to play next to — and that’s an art. It’s an art form when you learn how to still play well off of great players, and Danny has done a great job of that. That’s why we wanted him.”