With a new role and a new four-year contract, the pressure is officially on for Philadelphia 76ers’ reserve combo guard Shake Milton going into Year 2.
After showing some serious potential both in the G-League with the Delaware Blue Coats and in limited NBA action, Shake Milton has officially signed a four-year contract to remain with the Philadelphia 76ers through the 2022-23 season.
Obviously, this is great news for Shake and the entire Milton family, but after striking out on any backcourt players with ball handling abilities through the first 48 hours of free agency, the pressure is officially on to contribute right away as a rookie (sophomore? Two-way contracts are confusing).
Needless to say, big things could be on the horizon for the player affectionately known as ‘Money Train‘.
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One of two remaining members of the team’s 2018 draft class, which to be fair was only three players, Milton is one of only two players on the 76ers’ roster right now with any sort of consistent point guard experience at either the NBA or in college (the other? Ben Simmons). While the 76ers’ 2019-20 roster isn’t a finished product at this point, as the team still has their mid-level exception and three roster spots up for grabs, the team appears confident enough in Milton’s abilities to play the point to soak up the remainder of their cap space on Kyle O’Quinn, James Ennis, and Al Horford.
And at 6-foot-6, Milton perfectly fits into Brand’s new big ball philosophy.
Though he largely struggled to knock down the 3 ball in his first season as a pro, hitting 14-44 (31.8 percent) with the Sixers and 58-158 (36.7 percent) with the Blue Coats, Milton knocked down at least 42 percent of his shots from beyond the arc during his three seasons at SMU, sinking 190 of his 445 attempts over 87 collegiate games.
With Landry Shamet now a member of the Los Angeles Clippers, and J.J. Redick now a New Orleans Pelican, Milton is going to have plenty of opportunities to impact the game with off-ball screens, and could be relied on to shoulder a fairly substantial usage rate as the second unit’s top offensive shooting option.
Whether playing on-ball as a second unit point or shifting off-ball when playing alongside Simmons, Milton’s eventual impact will directly correlate with his ability to hit shots on the wings and score at an above average clip.
Hopefully, his transition to playing in the NBA full-time will be seamless, as the team desperately needs him right now.
After a surprise spending spree on the first two days of free agency, there really isn’t a certified sniper left on the market who can immediately slot in and shoot 40 percent from 3 point range right away. If Milton can take a step forward and play up to the standard Shamet set last season, the team will be set, but if he struggles in whatever you want to call this forthcoming season, it could spell disaster for all parties involved.
By building a defense-focused roster around big-bodied players across the board, the Philadelphia 76ers have made a conscious choice to win basketball games a certain way, but if Shake Milton can find a way to seamlessly transition into the currently vacant role as the team’s top shooter, it will make the team all the more formidable without sacrificing size or versatility. With three months until the start of the regular season, the pressure is officially on.
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