Sixers who have to step up in Embiid’s absence: Shake Milton
The Sixers are losing one of the highest-usage offensive players in the NBA in Embiid. Without him, Philadelphia’s main problem will be creating offense in the halfcourt. Obviously a lot of Embiid’s touches will be absorbed by the Harden/Maxey/Harris triumvirate, but even so, this feels like a Shake Milton series.
Shake Milton has been pretty quiet since Harden’s arrival. He’s not playing poorly, but he’s not exactly jumping off the screen either. His muted production in the first round was a combination of several factors, but with Embiid out, the Sixers need Shake to come in the game and create off the dribble.
Doc Rivers should be drilling confidence into Milton all day and all week. He needs to play within himself — and within the confines of an offense built around Harden and Maxey — but Milton’s best attribute is his ability to hit tough shots when the offense falters around him. The Sixers will need some vintage Shake hot spells in this series.
Shake is also useful for the Sixers’ defensive versatility. He’s 6-foot-6 with a 7-foot wingspan and plenty of muscle. He’s no traditional guard. I wouldn’t describe Shake as a particularly great defender, but he has the tools and the Sixers should (again) be looking to go small and fast without Embiid. Shake can switch across positions, defend wings, and contribute to three-guard lineups.