Philadelphia 76ers: Losing Shake Milton long-term would be a disaster

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Through three games of action, Shake Milton has become an indispensable part of the Philadelphia 76ers 2019-20 fortune – as long as he’s healthy of course.

After earning one measly minute on opening night, Shake Milton has swiftly become one of the most pivotal players on the Philadelphia 76ers bench.

One of the few ‘natural shooters’ on the team, Milton has thoroughly rebounded from a rough Summer League spent back at his college position, and has quietly given fans a glimpse of the second coming of his draft classmate Landry Shamet.

But in the blink of an eye, a make-or-break piece of the Sixers championship picture’s future flashed before our collective eyes.

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Facing off against Jabari Parker – the player selected one pick before Joel Embiid who’s currently on his third team in two years – Milton attempted to fake out the 6-foot-8 forward with a sweet spin move, but his knee hyper-extended and he fell to the floor in pain.

Oh no, why does this keep happening to the Sixers?

Now, as you may or may not know from how frequently you, well, frequent Section 215, Milton’s development into a legitimate piece has been a bit of a hot topic on these digital pages. I mean his flashy showing in Game 2 may have single-handedly convinced Brett Brown to prioritize his minutes over a seemingly-always-slumping Furkan Korkmaz – with the potential to become that knockdown shooting guard from range the defense-focused bench desperately needs (more on that here).

Could one attempt at faking out a forward take that element away from the Sixers bag of tricks? Or worse yet, could it take a pivotal opportunity for Milton – the 54th overall selection in the 2019 NBA Draft who just completed a two-way contract – to establish himself as a legitimate NBA player.

Fortunately, we may not have to find out.

According to the Philadelphia Inquiries’ Keith Pompey, Milton was walking around in good spirits in the locker room post-game, with an MRI scheduled to fully assess any internal damage. Barring something unforeseen, it would appear that the Shakester has avoided anything season-ending, and could be back on the court when Philly returns home for a West Coast road trip on November 10th, if not sooner.

But what if the worst case would have occurred? What if Milton had torn his ACL and his season was effectively over? Who is the next man up?

Well, if you ask Coach Brown, the answer would surely be Korkmaz, but he’s averaging 1.7 points on 16.7 percent from 3 point range over the first three games of the season, with no real hope for things to get better.

Maybe the team could shake things up and finally unleash Trey Burke as the second unit’s primary scorer, but through three games, he’s yet to earn a single minute of action (more on that here).

Next. Why can’t Trey Burke get on the court?. dark

While some may have questioned Elton Brand‘s decision to extend Shake Milton on a four-year, $7 million deal after a basically non-factor rookie season, the second-year guard has suddenly become an expendable part of the Philadelphia 76ers rotation with no true replacement on the roster to fill his shoes. Who could have imagined that when the team traded up to acquire him at the tail end of the second round?