Honorable mention - Tyrese Maxey
When James Harden began demanding a trade from the Philadelphia 76ers, there seemed to be questions on whether Tyrese Maxey was ready to play second-lead to the reigning MVP, Joel Embiid or if the task would be too big for a player the team chose not to extend. About a third of the way into the 2023-24 season, and those queries have been put to rest by his play.
Being a quiet assassin may not get him as much spotlight as others, but Maxey is having a top-tier season--joining Embiid as a top-15 scorer in the league with 26.4 points per game. With only five of those games seeing him score under 20 points a contest.
Also, do not forget to place being top-15 in assists and tied for the 20th lowest amout of turnovers per game--amongst 45 point guards--on his docket. As well as gaining off the court television time in New Balance sneaker commercials alongside the likes of NBA champions Kawhi Leonard and Jamal Murray.
Maxey is not quite yet on the superstar steps, but his ascension has even made trigger-happy 76ers president Daryl Morey reevaluate the type of deals he is looking to make at the deadline.
The honorable mention could be in line for title contention and a first time all-star bid.