By Jerry Wein

There is an upside to the bizarre, four-month exercise in narcissism that crybaby Ben Simmons has put us through:

Tyrese Maxey will get a bigger stage to demonstrate his talent.

Among other things, he loves playing off a pick-and-roll, as he demonstrated Friday night at Detroit.

However, as Derek Bodner of The Athletic points out, he finished with just one free-throw attempt in 65 minutes across three preseason games:

That deficiency leads to stat lines like the one he put up Friday. He shows off so much potential to attack the rim and such impressive control to contort his body and finish in the paint, and then you look up and he has 16 points on 16 field goal attempts to go along with just three assists and two turnovers.

This game wasn’t serious enough to warrant any real concerns, but you’d love to see him do a better job of consistently seeking out contact and getting to the free-throw line. He showed tiny steps of progress toward that in the second half of last season, but the Sixers will need a big leap forward if he is to overcome the odds and be an impact player at just age 20.

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