Philadelphia 76ers: Shake Milton has star potential

Philadelphia 76ers, Shake Milton (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Philadelphia 76ers, Shake Milton (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Shake Milton isn’t just an ordinarily good second-round pick for the Philadelphia 76ers, he is beginning to show real star potential in the NBA.

Until recently, Shake Milton just seemed like a former second-round pick that was going to fill out the tale end of the depth chart for the Philadelphia 76ers. However, now he’s not only showing he can be a quality starter on an NBA team but that he has some potential to be a star in this league.

Both on Twitter and as a guest on The Philadelphia Sports Table Podcast Show for the episode “Sixers Frustrations Keep Mounting” (Patreon subscription required to listen to the podcast in the link), I made that hot take that Milton has the potential to become what Markelle Fultz was supposed to be for the 76ers.

When drafted, Fultz was supposed to be another star next to Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid that could run an offense and score on all three levels. Fultz’s failed due to an injured shoulder, but Milton has shown the potential that he might be able to become that. If he can, then he’s the bridge player that will make Simmons’ and Embiid’s skills complement each other to their full potential.

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Thus far this season, Milton has averaged 8.8 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 2.0 assist per game. While his overall averages for the year aren’t impressive, his shooting percentages are, as well as his averages for the past five games. That’s not to mention that career-high 39 points he scored against the Los Angeles Clippers. He tied an NBA record in consecutive 3-pointers made with 13 straight shots from downtown made over the past three games.

His shooting percentages for the season are 49.7 percent from the field, 46.6 percent from downtown, 52.9 percentages from inside the 3-point line and 80.0 percent from the foul line. Needless to say that those are impressive numbers. The only area of the floor he struggles to score at right now is the mid-range and while I personally like players who can score from the mid-range, it’s not a necessary skill to have to be a star player in today’s NBA.

His average over the last five games has even been more impressive. He’s averaged 20.4 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 4.2 assists, while making 63.2 from the floor and 73.3 percent from downtown. In the absence of Embiid and Simmons, Milton is proving himself to be a person that the offense can flow through.

This shouldn’t come as a complete surprise for those who followed Milton in the G-League while he played on the 76ers G-League affiliate. During his rookie season, he averaged 24.9 points,4.9 rebounds, and 4.9 assists with the Delaware Blue Coats. He was able to do it in the G-League and now he’s slowly proving he can do it in the NBA.

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He’s showing that he has the potential to be the third star that Fultz was supposed to be, but he still has more to prove. He has to show he can do this over a longer stretch of games, then he has to show he can do it when both Embiid and Simmons are back healthy. It would be nice if he can develop into the team’s closer as well, but that probably won’t happen this season.

Milton has this potential, but the coaching staff needs to develop this, as I have already said when I was a guest on the previously mentioned podcast. That means that even when Simmons is back, most of the half-court offense should be run through Milton. He needs the ball in his hands to develop as a scorer and playmaker.

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Milton may never be the passer or athlete that Fultz is, but he does have the potential to become the third star next to Embiid and Simmons that Fultz failed to become. Milton has the scoring potential and enough playmaking skills to be the other guard that is needed to maximize the Philadelphia 76ers’ stars’ skills.