Milton Finishing Season With 'Business as Usual' Approach

by Brian Seltzer Reporter

The stage is bigger, with plenty more eyeballs in the crowd.

But even though Shake Milton will be finishing the season with the 76ers, he doesn’t plan on changing a thing.

“Business as usual,” the even-keeled rookie said Wednesday, following a practice session in Camden.

As one of the Sixers’ two two-way contract players, Milton has been on a relatively steady shuttle between the NBA and G League the past six months.

He opened his first professional campaign with the Sixers, spending training camp and the preseason with the team.

Shortly thereafter, in November, the 2018 no. 54 pick was assigned to the Delaware Blue Coats, and immediately assumed a spot in the squad’s starting line-up.

From the get-go, it was apparent Milton could affect the game at the G League level, particularly on the offensive end. His fourth outing with the Coats, Milton exploded for 33 points and 10 assists.

He would go on to finish the regular season ranked second overall in the G League in scoring, with an average of 24.9 points per game. Only twice in his final 11 contests did he tally fewer than 23 points.

In between, Milton was called up for a couple stints with the Sixers, first in mid-December and early-January, then again a few weeks later in the midst of a Western Conference road trip.

More often than not, when the Sixers summoned Milton into duty, the SMU product turned heads.

“The game comes easy,” Brett Brown said Thursday.

That was evident Monday, when Milton rejoined the Sixers. Despite the team losing to the Orlando Magic, Milton provided some nice contributions in the guts of the game.

A pull up jumper late in the third quarter put him at nine points, and cut the deficit to one. He ended the evening with an NBA-career high 13 points.

As for why Milton has managed to fit neatly with the Sixers during various stages of the season, Brown thinks a lot of it has to do with the youngster’s approach.

“He doesn’t force feed stuff on the game,” said Brown. “He takes what the game gives him, and plays with an ease - just a pace and a smoothness and a fluidity to his game that enables him to look very much under control. The fact that he can shoot adds to that in significant ways.”

“I think you just have to be level-headed, it’s about having the right people around you, the people who keep you focused,” said Milton, who counted Jimmy Butler as a veteran he’s received support and guidance from this season. “As long as you know the reason why you’re doing what you’re doing, knowing your why, I feel like you can keep it all in perspective and it makes it easier.”

Brown highlighted Milton’s shooting, and on that front, the early returns are encouraging. He’s converted 11 of 28 NBA 3-point attempts (39.3%), after nailing 36.9 percent from three (58-157) with the Blue Coats.

Over his three years at SMU, the Oklahoma native hit a combined 42.7 percent (190 3fgm) of his perimeter heaves.

The marching orders for Milton this season have been two-fold - hit open shots, and defend.

“I just try to be a star in my role,” he told reporters.

Defensively, Milton and the Sixers envision him becoming the type of player who can use his length to guard multiple positions, and be aggressive with switching.

Now that Milton is back with the Sixers on a full time basis, his goals for the rest of the year are to soak in as much as possible during the NBA’s stretch rune (by rule, two-way contract players aren’t permitted to appear in playoff games).

“I think it’s going to be a big experience for me.”

And a nice way to put a bow on a promising debut season.

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