Shake Milton looked like a potential sixth man of the year candidate at one point in his career. With nothing but praise from Sixers coach Doc Rivers, the future looked bright for the ex-SMU guard. He was being viewed as Coach Rivers’ new Jamal Crawford. The recently retired Jamal Crawford, a 6’5”, 200 lb shooting guard, made his living as a sixth man, capturing the Sixth Man of the Year award three times over the course of his career, which seemed like a fantastic career for Milton to emulate.
Milton, a 6’5”, 205 lb shooting guard, was also in the midst of emerging as an actual bench piece. He proved he could hang with the big boys and even received Sixth Man of the Year attention. Then, he just stopped producing like he was in 2020 when the playoffs rolled around.
Shake Milton is on an even better Sixers team than when he was last year when he received Sixth Man of the Year consideration, yet he has devolved in an extreme way. The fourth-year guard is averaging around the same amount of minutes he played last year (21.6 this year to 23.2 last year) yet has watched nearly every statistic fall.
Milton averaged 13.0 points a game last year. Now he averages 8.2 points per game. He averaged 3.1 assists per game last season. Now he averages 2.4 per game. His shooting percentages dropped from 45.0% from the field last year to 41.9% this year. His three-point percentage went down from 35.0% in 2020-21 to 29.1% from three in the current season. In the month of March, Shake Milton was watching his minutes decrease along with all of his statistics. Milton was getting twenty or more minutes per game at the beginning of the month. Against the Raptors, Shake logged only nine minutes.
Then, against the Miami Heat last night, Shake Milton arrived. Again. With the 76ers without stars Joel Embiid or James Harden, the Sixers took on the first seeded Miami Heat in a game that the Heat were heavily favored to win. However, Shake Milton (along with the rest of his team) had a different plan.
Milton finally seemed like his old self again, pouring in 20 points off the bench on a highly efficient nine for eighteen from the field. He was also a consistent playmaker, with six assists in the game. It was the first time Milton had achieved six assists, his season-high, since he did so on November 6th, 2021, in a win against the Chicago Bulls. Milton was an absolutely pivotal piece of the Sixers’ surprise win against the Miami Heat, playing in tandem with Tyrese “A Star is Born” Maxey (28 points) and Furkan “Pop the Kork” Korkmaz (18 points).
The hope is that his performance against the Miami Heat helps Milton regain his confidence just in time for the playoffs. His final stat line of 20 points, six assists, five rebounds, one block, and one steal on 50% shooting from the field gives each and every Sixers fan hope for Sixth Man of the Year Shake Milton to return.