Few guys have ascended into the spotlight as quickly as Shake Milton. From being told mid-season that he would have no role on the team to now being looked at as a key piece moving forward, it was quite the turnaround. Milton Mania was in full effect when the season was put on hold, but it is still to be determined how sustainable the level of play that he briefly showed is. With the NBA (hopefully) returning soon, the Sixers will be counting on Shake to play a major role in being able to spread the court and compliment Simmons as the off-ball guard.
In the few starts Shake got before the NBA was shut down, his play was nothing short of fantastic. We saw him pour in a career-high 39 points as well as tying an NBA record of 13 straight made 3 pointers. He carried himself with confidence on the court and averaged over 20 points per game as a starter with 7 straight double-digit efforts. When Simmons was forced to sit out with a back injury, it was Shake who got the chance he had been waiting for. We saw a guy who is more NBA ready than most have expected at a position where help is needed.
Shake brings a scoring punch that could help take this team to a new level. While Milton can handle the ball, he is at his best as an off-ball scorer and plays a style that should be complemented by Simmons’s ability to drive and dish. Shake has the potential to play a role similar to what we envisioned when we drafted Markelle Fultz. He can effectively shoot the 3 as he shot 38.4% from deep in the G-League and 41.7% so far in his brief NBA career. Spacing has been one of the largest issues for the team this year and Milton could help to spread the floor with his ability and willingness to shoot the 3.
Embiid and Simmons are obviously the money makers who will need to play their best if the team is to make a true playoff run. But finding the key pieces to surround them with is just as important and Shake is a diamond in the rough in this regard. He is on one of the most team-friendly contracts in the NBA and will have the ability to grow as a Sixer until at least the 2022-23 season. These are incredibly high expectations to put on a guy who has played just over 50 games in the NBA, but he will no doubt be a player to watch going forward.
In addition to his shooting ability, Milton is 6’5 with long arms and has proved to be effective at getting in passing lanes. He fits right in with the army of long-armed lock-down defenders led by Ben Simmons and Matisse Thybulle. It is still to be seen the exact role Milton will have on the team when play does resume. What is for sure is that he is a key card that Brett Brown has been delt and it will be up to him to find the best use for him moving forward. Milton is a pleasant surprise the Sixers should be excited about and it will be interesting to see how things shake out moving forward.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Lifelong Philly Sports fan and current college student at Alvernia University. Writes about Sixers and Phillies and Co-Host of Pick Swap Podcast
Twitter: @Sean_Barnard1 and @PickSwapPod