WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – It’s hard to tell by talking to him that Shake Milton is in the mix for a key role with the 76ers.
The second-year guard showed a little emotion when talking about his starting assignment in Friday night’s preseason game against the Charlotte Hornets at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Nor is the former two-way player getting caught up with the attention he’s receiving by outplaying several of the team’s veteran free-agent guard pickups.
“I don’t really try to worry about anything extra other than doing my job,” he said, "and doing what my coaches expect from me and what my teammates expect from me.
“I don’t really pay attention to what’s being said.”
However, the 23-year-old did say that it’s exciting to see the Sixers having confidence in him. His goal is to prove them right.
Milton was excited about being starting Friday night. Yet, he mentioned that he still has to do his job. If he does that, Milton thinks he can help the team be successful.
The second-year player started because two-time All-Star center Joel Embiid missed the game due to load management. In his absence, five-time All-Star post player Al Horford slid from power forward to center. Tobias Harris went from from small forward to power forward.
The moves left a space available for Milton, who has been impressive this preseason. Milton and rookie swingman Matisse Thybulle have been, arguably, the most impressive reserves in the preseason.
Milton had eight points, making two of three three-pointers, in 10 minutes, 3 seconds of action in Tuesday’s 144-86 victory over the Guangzhou Long-Lions. Milton also had a stellar performance in the Sixers’ blue-white scrimmage on Oct. 5.
“With opportunity comes possibility,” coach Brett Brown said before the game. “He’s got another opportunity. It’s possible that he can really shine tonight and try to claim more responsibility.”