SHAKING THINGS UP: The Shake Milton Story
Wow, just wow.
What else can I say about the 39 point historic performance from Sixers guard Shake Milton? Shake made his first five 3 point shot attempts on Sunday, which tied an NBA record for most consecutive three point shots with 14 (over three game span). 26 of his 39 points came in the first half, the dude has been absolutely unconscious from all areas of the hardwood, which was on full display Sunday afternoon against Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers.
Every baller can have that ONE game, right?
Absolutely, especially NBA players. You can hate on the 12th man of your favorite NBA team when he checks in to the game, but that 12th man was the best player from his area, most likely a GREAT Division 1 player, and still capable of going off ONE time. And I know that is what a lot of the Sixers fans could be thinking after the Clippers game. I am here to tell you, you are wrong.
Shaking and Baking since January 22nd
Prior to January 22nd, Shake Milton recorded 19 "DNP"s (Did Not Play) and 14 "Inactive"s (Team decision to not even dress him). For my Math majors out there, that is 33 out of 61 games this year he was viewed as chopped liver and saw zero minutes of live action.
But since the 22nd, Milton has played meaningful minutes in the last 16 straight games. In those games, Milton has been pretty much as efficient and consistent as it gets in the entire NBA. The proof is in the pudding (SHAKE AND BAKE!)...
That last bullet point is my favorite. Shake Milton has been called upon a decent amount of time over the last 16 games to actually handle the rock and take control of the Point Guard duties. To only have 17 turnovers is remarkable. Obviously the shooting percentages are just filthy and astronomical as well.
Is This Sustainable?
Who knows? But we have to find out. The word of the season has been "SPACING" when talking about the clunky offense that has been on display. Two of the more pressing concerns surrounding this team have been shooting and ball handling.
Head Coach Brett Brown said after the game Sunday that he sat down with every player after the All Star break. Brown went on to say that when he met with Shake Milton he said the following... "You are not playing and you are not in the rotation." I am not "bashing" Brett Brown for that, but it just makes the story that much better.
Brett Brown basically "You are the weakest link, goodbye"ed Shake Milton. Brett acknowledged that it is a "hell of a story", and indeed it is. But the story now is if Shake Milton has played his way in to this rotation for good? Is this kid the real deal?
It seems that the Sixers have someone in Milton that can help with providing the team with reliable shooting and ball handling. The Sixers are dealing with significant injuries (once again) with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid sidelined. Maybe the silver lining of those injuries is that it forced Shake Milton on the floor in a bigger role. Maybe we can look back at this time period as the "Shake Milton coming out party".
Who should Shake Milton replace?
Unfortunately right now, that is not a problem the Sixers have. I say unfortunately because that is what we would call a "good problem". But with Josh Richardson sustaining a concussion against the Clippers and Ben Simmons still sidelined with no specific return date, I would plan on seeing Shake Milton as the starting Point Guard for the Philadelphia 76ers moving forward.
The question is, eventually, when this team gets healthy again (hopefully sooner than later) what does the rotation look like? We will find out if these last 16 games of production from Shake Milton can continue while those key players are out, or if this all has been a flash in the pan.
Let's just assume the production remains equal. The bottom line is this, Milton has been a surprising asset since Jan. 22nd. Providing the Sixers help in key areas that have been lacking.
Matisse Thybulle would most likely take the brunt of Shake Milton solidifying a role in the rotation, with Alec Burks also potentially losing a few minutes.
I expect Ben Simmons to be used "off ball" in the postseason more frequently, especially later in games. That could be even more true if Brett Brown has a reliable replacement at the Point Guard position, and he could have found it Sunday.
- Shake Milton
- Josh Richardson
- Tobias Harris
- Ben Simmons
- Joel Embiid
Shake Milton has been "a hell of a story". The story of the 2019-2020 Philadelphia 76ers is nearing the final chapters. The book of this season has already been filled with drama and plot twists. In most great stories, especially "thrillers" the character you were least expecting swoops in to "save the day".
Is Shake Milton that character? Let's get back to the story and find out.