The 76ers have put the ball in Shake Milton’s hands, allowing the second-year player to work as the starting point guard during practices at Walt Disney World as the Sixers continue preparation for the NBA’s restart. The Sixers will begin their first of their eight “seed” games on Aug. 1 against the Indiana Pacers.
The big news during the first week is Milton playing the point and two-time All-Star point guard Ben Simmons moving all-around the court, primarily at power forward.
No one has the vision or the handle of the 6-foot-10 Simmons, but what can make Milton dangerous is his shooting ability.
Milton leads the Sixers in three-point field goal percentage (45.3). That figure was boosted by a red-hot final nine games before the season suspended because of the coronavirus when Milton shot 60.4%.
His shooting ability will help keep defenses honest and will make the pick-and-roll more effective. Coach Brett Brown said after Thursday’s practice that he anticipated more pick-and-rolls, with one reason being Milton’s shooting ability. Defenders can’t just follow the roller, they will have fight off the pick to guard Milton.
“Shake can punish that with his skill shooting,” Brown said.
Milton will be playing with plenty of offensive weapons. That includes three-time All-Star center Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, who is averaging 19.4 points per game, and Simmons.
“When I am playing with guys as talented as they are, it makes my job a lot easier,” Milton said Thursday on a call with the media. “I just got to know how to get everybody organized and it just makes the game really easy, whether I pass it or I shoot it.”
Everything seems to be jelling in 76ers practice this week, and we’re sure that is the way with many of the other 21 NBA teams in the restart.
Brown said he was especially happy with the way his two All-Stars, Simmons and Embiid, have clicked.