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Philadelphia native Kyle Lowry ready to mentor Tyrese Maxey, help 76ers make deep postseason run

Kyle Lowry talks role, Tyrese Maxey and more in first Philadelphia 76ers press conference
Kyle Lowry talks role, Tyrese Maxey and more in first Philadelphia 76ers press conference 07:24

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - For Kyle Lowry, it was the right time to come home. The North Philadelphia native officially signed with his hometown 76ers last week, but he didn't dream about playing on Broad Street in South Philly as a kid. 

"You never want to play at home because there's so much going on," Lowry said Wednesday. "It's a hard place to play when you go back home, but at the end of the day, it's a dream come true because I'm actually being able to play in front of my friends, family and people that I cheered with as 76ers fans growing up. It's one of those things that now I'm prepared to do it. When I was younger, I wasn't prepared to do it."

But now, in year 18 of his NBA career, Lowry, 37, is ready to play in Philly. 

The former five-star guard out of Cardinal Dougherty and Villanova University product has seen it all during his career and said he understands his role with the Sixers. 

"My job is to make sure Tyrese [Maxey] gets better, this team gets to a point where they haven't been in a while and that's my job," the six-time All-Star said. "My job is to do everything I can do to make this team and this organization get better no matter what the role is, what the minutes is, what the situation is. My job is to be a professional and help Tyrese get better, help this team get better, help coach get better, help everyone get better. That's my job." 

Lowry, who was a full participant in practice Wednesday, isn't the same player he was once years ago. In 37 games with the Miami Heat this season, he averaged 8.2 points, 4.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 38% on threes. 

But one thing Lowry can do effectively is mentor Maxey, the 23-year-old first-time All-Star guard. 

Lowry will be the latest veteran to help Maxey in his young NBA career. For the past two seasons, James Harden showed Maxey the ropes, and Patrick Beverley looked out for the young Sixers guard before he was dealt to the Milwaukee Bucks at the NBA trade deadline. 

"I think [Maxey] just has a great spirit," Lowry said. "He has a great joy about himself. I think his overall professionalism, his overall aura, is good. He's one of those guys that's just always happy, always energized, always special. And you don't get a chance to be around many guys like that. And if I have an opportunity for a kid to continue to get better, a first-time All-Star, it's a level to continue to be that. And it's a place you have to keep going and going, and I think he can get there."

In Philadelphia, Lowry will also get to play under Nick Nurse, a coach he has a relationship with going back to his days with the Toronto Raptors. 

The Lowry and Nurse Raptors team in 2019 knocked the Sixers out of the playoffs in seven games after Kawhi Leonard's infamous quadruple doink shot as Toronto went on to win the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.

Since then, the Sixers still haven't been past the second round of the playoffs, and Lowry is hoping to change that. 

"The respect level I have for [Nurse] as a coach, as a man, his abilities, his innovative mind, it makes him special," Lowry said. 

The start of Lowry's Sixers' tenure will be without reigning MVP Joel Embiid. 

RELATED: 76ers team president Daryl Morey 'hopeful' that Embiid can return for a possible postseason run

Embiid underwent a procedure on a lateral meniscus injury in early February and is set to be re-evaluated in two weeks, according to the team.

But Lowry is confident the Sixers can keep things afloat with Embiid sidelined. 

"I think we still have talent," Lowry said. "You got an All-Star in Tyrese Maxey, you got a guy in Tobias Harris who is very skilled and very talented. You got a bunch of other guys who just want to be good and play hard. You got guys who are Swiss Army Knives on defense that are athletic and can do a lot of things. It's just about finding a rhythm and groove with each other and just playing hard." 

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