By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor
There is a lot to look forward to this upcoming Sixers season. Now under a new coach in Doc Rivers, we should expect to see new experiments with the roster and playstyles. Adding a Hall of Fame-caliber coach should help Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid as they head into their primes, but there is another Sixer who should take a big step this year.
Shake Milton’s emergence was one of the bigger storylines for the Sixers this past season. He showed that he can be a key piece for the Sixers moving forward. Now with Doc Rivers running the show, Milton is a guy that people should be looking at to take another step in his game.
In his time with the Clippers, Rivers got the most out of guards like Lou Williams and Jamal Crawford. Now although Milton is not at the level of those two players, there are a lot of similarities in their games.
Rivers would put Williams and Crawford in high pick-and-roll scenarios and allow them to utilize all the weapons in their offensive arsenals. Milton can be a three-level scorer in his own right and could thrive in a similar kind of situation that Doc has put combo guards in during his time in LA.
Now, this does not mean that Milton is going to become a sixth man of the year overnight. He is a Sixer that needs to be talked about taking a big step under the new coaching regime. Rivers spoke highly of Milton in his introductory press conference, giving the impression he is excited to work with him.
Doc Rivers with simple marching orders for Shake Milton: “If you can play like you played against us in LA, I don’t have to say another word.”— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) October 5, 2020
If Rivers can turn Milton into anything close to Williams and Crawford it would be a success for the Sixers. Milton has the confidence and skill to play at the level of those two, it all comes down to being put in the right system to thrive.
One thing the Sixers’ offense lacked was shot creation on the perimeter. If Simmons and Embiid are going to be dominant forces around the rim, the team is going to need guys who can open up the floor for those two. Establishing a strong pick-and-roll presence with those two could impact their room to work as well.
Having players outperform their small contracts is something the Sixers need with the money they have invested in their core. Growing Shake Milton in any capacity impacts the Sixers as he is under contract for multiple seasons on an extremely team-friendly contract.
There are a lot of new storylines to look at surrounding the Sixers with new coaching. Although Milton might not be the main one, it is one to keep an eye on. If Rivers can turn him into a Lou Williams-Esq super-sub, the Sixers could finally have a set sixth man for the future. It will be fascinating to see what Rivers can do with a young and hungry guard like Shake Milton moving forward.