2. Shake Milton
Shake Milton has been trending toward the periphery of Philadelphia’s rotation lately, and it’s understandable why. The guard triumvirate of James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and De’Anthony Melton demands a healthy chunk of minutes and Milton’s skill set can, at times, feel a bit redundant when the team is healthy.
Here’s why that shouldn’t really matter.
First, to quell any “defensive concerns” about the guard-heavy lineups: Shake is 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot-2 wingspan. He is built like a wing and capable of guarding up a position or two without issue. In fact, he’s probably better defending wings and forwards than guards.
On the offensive end, it’s hard to overstate the value of multiple halfcourt shot creators in the playoffs. Offenses slow down in the postseason, defenses key in. Milton is one of the few Sixers not named Embiid or Harden who can legitimately create his own shot from scratch. Especially when one of Philly’s two stars is on the bench, Milton’s skill set will take on elevated importance.
There’s also the simple benefit of a strong recent track record. Last postseason, when the Sixers’ bench fell to pieces against Miami, Milton was one of the few bright spots (right alongside Paul Reed). We have seen Milton elevate his play on the biggest stage. Plus, no Sixers reserve had a better stretch in 2022-23 than Milton did when Harden and Maxey were banged up in December. He has earned his spot.