ORLANDO–With the Philadelphia 76ers so short-handed over the past few games dealing with injuries, they have needed somebody to step up and produce more. The Sixers are missing their star backcourt of James Harden and Tyrese Maxey, and they have had to rely on the backups to produce.
Shake Milton has stepped in and he hasn’t missed a beat for this team on the offensive end. In four games as a starter, Milton is averaging 22.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 6.5 assists while shooting a ridiculous 52.6% from deep. Those numbers have been exactly what the Sixers needed and then some.
In Friday’s win over the Orlando Magic, the veteran out of SMU had 24 points, 10 assists, and nine rebounds as he did a terrific job of running things. After the win, he said he’s been watching Philadelphia’s future Hall of Fame point guard closely to pick up some pointers on how to run the offense.
“Just from watching him, honestly,” Milton said of Harden. “Anytime you’re able to sit there and watch a great player play basketball, you’re just like a sponge trying to take up any type of information. As much as a threat as he is to score the ball, he’s always making plays for the team, getting people on the rolls, seeing the backside defense, and you can definitely take a lot from watching his game.”
It’s a possibility that watching Harden has helped make Milton an even better passer. Coach Doc Rivers gave a lot of praise to Milton after the win for his passing and the veteran guard explained his improvement in that area. It also certainly helps that the ball is firmly in his hands and that he is the one making decisions out on the floor for this team.
“I think just seeing the game and, honestly, with having the ball more,” Milton added. “Having more time, not feeling like I have to force it, so just reading the game and taking what the defense has given me, and then on top of that, even when I’m making mistakes, guys are patting me on the back, telling me to keep going, keep being aggressive, keep trying to see the floor. You just really build confidence in something like that.”
The Sixers have a rematch with the Magic in Orlando on Sunday before returning home to take on the Atlanta Hawks on Monday.
Georges Niang explains why he's been such a perfect fit for Sixers
Tobias Harris discusses being a leader, doing more for short-handed Sixers
Sixers announce PJ Tucker has left ankle soreness after win over Magic