Did the Philadelphia 76ers make a huge mistake in trusting Shake?
After 145 days of anticipation, the Philadelphia 76ers finally took the court with their new-look starting five.
And the results were… bad?
*sigh* the names on the jerseys may change, but being a Sixers fan remains the same.
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Now to be fair, the Sixers weren’t all bad. Joel Embiid did quite literally everything in his power to try to will his team to a Disney World victory, recording a 41 and 21 double-double, but my goodness, other than that, things got downright ugly.
Brett Brown brought out his usual head-scratching rotational decisions, Tobias Harris had the quietest 30 points imaginable, and Al Horford finished out the game minus, like 100 despite only playing 23 minutes. But no one, no one, had a worse showing against an undermanned Indiana Pacers squad than the team’s new starting point guard, Shake Milton.
In 19 minutes of action, Milton scored all of zero points on one shot from the field, for three assists, a rebound, and zero steals. What Milton did do, however, was turn the ball over three times to go with five personal fouls, forcing the 23-year-old SMU product to ride the bench for much of the second half.
Things got so bad that Brown opted to re-insert Raul Neto into his rotation in a move remarkably similar to how Milton rose to prominence in the first place, in a dire attempt to get something, anything out of the point guard position.
Spoiler alert: Milton and Neto combined for two points in 42 minutes of action, so yeah, that didn’t really work.
But wait, it gets worse. Not only was Milton hesitantly ineffective on both the offensive and defensive side of the court, and routinely brutalized by a pocket-picking T.J. McConnell, but he also got into a verbal altercation with Embiid at the end of the first quarter that will certainly dominate the news cycle until the team returns to the court on Monday night for an 8 pm contest against the San Antonio Spurs.
*sigh* see what I mean about disappointment?
So… where do we go from here? Is Milton not the season savior Sixers fans the world over built up in their heads since mid-march? Is he… bad?
Honestly, beats me.
Clearly, Coach Brown and company saw something in Milton to keep him in their starting five. I mean they literally convinced Ben Simmons to switch positions for the first time in his professional career to accommodate Milton’s addition, but was that for zero points in 19 minutes?
Heck, Alec Burks only played 12 minutes and he scored nine points on a perfect 3-3 from beyond the arc. Why give Neto and Milton minutes over Burks when he was clearly the hottest of the three?
Could this game have been a fluke? Could Shake Milton walk into the gym Monday night, square up with the San Antonio Spurs’ impressive collection of young guards, and put up another 39 point performance the likes of which could make Paul George blush? I guess anything is possible, but it’s just as likely that maybe Milton isn’t ready for primetime and may ultimately be phased out for a more veteran option like Alec Burks, Glenn Robinson III, or even Al Flippin’ Horford to ensure the Philadelphia 76ers have their five best players on the court as often as possible. At this point, everything should be on the table.