Expect a bigger role for Sixers’ Shake Milton when the NBA returns


Brett Brown held a virtual press conference via Zoom this past Friday, and while everyone was lasered in on his comments regarding the playoffs, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, etc., Brett made a small remark that seemingly went under the radar. 

Prior to the league’s suspension, Milton was absolutely lighting it up for the 76ers. He scored 27 against the Atlanta Hawks on January 30th and then proceeded to average 17.8 points per game during the final nine games. Taking on a bigger role due to Ben Simmons’ injury, Milton completely took control of an overall struggling Philly offense. 

Milton’s marquee performance of the season thus far came on March 1, when he poured in a career-high 39 on Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and the Los Angeles Clippers. He drained seven threes and went 14/20 from the field that night, despite being guarded by two of the best defenders in the NBA.

Directly following the 2020 All-Star break, it was reported that Brett Brown had in-person meetings with every single player on the roster, primarily to explain the role each player should expect moving forward. According to a few different outlets, Shake Milton was told to not expect any sort of playing time moving forward, that he simply wasn’t part of the rotation. However, with Trey Burke being cut, and the injury bug hitting both Simmons and Josh Richardson, Milton eventually got his shot.

Milton obviously made the most of his opportunity, however, there were still some lingering questions regarding how he would be used once Ben Simmons returned to the starting lineup. During Simmons’ absence, Milton experienced a lot of success operating as the primary ball-handler in pick and roll type sets.

Brett Brown’s recent comments should excite Sixers fans. Not only does Milton excel operating as a true point guard coming off screens, but Simmons himself also excels playing minutes as the “screener”. With his 6’ 10” frame and his freakishly large wingspan, Simmons is the perfect type of player to throw all sorts of lobs to. His elite speed, size, and athleticism pose matchup nightmares for teams.

On multiple occasions this season Simmons dominated as a screener while playing alongside Raul Neto. Going from Neto to Milton should no doubt be an upgrade for the Sixers offense.

Shake Milton was actually a Brett Brown draft pick from back in the second round of 2018. Selected for his unique size and shooting ability, he actually fits in quite nicely with the Sixers’ current roster makeup. Not only can he handle the basketball, but he can also stretch the floor with his shot while defending multiple positions. His 7-foot wingspan and his 45.3 3P% provide excellent options for Brett Brown and the Sixers offense moving forward.

There’s still no set date on an NBA return, but things do look like they are progressing in the right direction. Some of the league’s premier players have started voicing their opinions on wanting to resume play sooner rather than later.

If and when the NBA season resumes, seeing Shake Milton get a full-time role in the Sixers offense should be something fans can all get very excited about.

Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports