The Philadelphia 76ers are looking a little different recently as they look to move on from a disappointing 2019-20 season. The team has made a lot of additions that they hope will help Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid move forward on offense.
They are also counting on the continued progression of a certain youngster who continues to catch the eye of his team and that is Shake Milton.
The young man had 19 points in Tuesday’s preseason win over the Boston Celtics and he looked very poised. He was able to run the team’s second unit and the pick-and-roll game with veteran big man Dwight Howard was encouraging to see.
“It’s been great,” Howard said of Milton. “He’s been really eager to listen and learn. I like how disciplined he is coming out of the pick-and-roll. He’s an awesome scorer so I’m super excited about playing with him in the pick-and-roll. He’s been doing a good job of getting downhill and making plays for himself and other people. So I think that pick-and-roll of me and him will be deadly. Especially with the second unit.”
If Milton can continue to take big steps forward such as this one, it will allow the Sixers to feel comfortable with being able to rest both Simmons and Embiid and still be able to receive some production. Howard will continue to produce as he always has and he will be somebody who the Sixers can count on, but if Milton can continue to progress, it will make a huge difference.
Another young Sixers guard, Tyrese Maxey, received some time on Tuesday and he had eight points and three assists in the fourth quarter. After a shaky start, he made a few floaters and he was a big reason why Philadelphia was able to hold off Boston late.
“I really like young fella,” Howard said with a smile. “When he first came in the game, I thought he was kind of moving a little bit too fast. They were pressuring them a lot. In a timeout, I kind of pulled them to the side I just told him to slow down. It’s okay to be fast, but don’t be in a hurry. Don’t allow the defense to dictate where they want you to go. No, you’re the ball-handler, you’re the point guard, you control everything on the floor, just slow down and read the game.”
The tough start can be attributed to the fact that he only had two practices with the team after battling COVID-19 and he then did not play until the fourth quarter. For him to bounce back in an impressive way is something that stood out to Howard.
“He went back out there, he slowed down,” the veteran added. “He started making plays, he got a couple of floaters off, some good passes. He got the offense running smoothly. I really like where his head is at. He’s very eager to learn, very disciplined, he’s always in the gym working. I’m very happy to see the progress that he’s had in such a short training camp but also having no type of summer league or anything like that.”
The Sixers now head to Indiana to face the Pacers on Friday to finish up the preseason.
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