Shake Milton: Owasso native survives 76ers' benching
When the Philadelphia 76ers returned from the all-star break, point guard Shake Milton got some discouraging news. He was being benched.
76er coach Brett Brown said he sequestered himself for 72 hours, did nothing except study and concentrate on the Sixers, and Brown arrived at some decisions. Including the demotion of Milton. And Brown told Milton so.
“You’re not playing,” Brown said he told the Owasso High School graduate. “You’re not in the rotation. I’m going with going with Alec (Burks) and Josh (Richardson) and Ben Simmons. You have to stay ready. This is your role.”
Milton stayed ready. Milton had a game for the ages Sunday on national television. The short-handed Sixers, playing without superstars Simmons and Joel Embiid, lost to the Clippers 136-130 in Los Angeles, but Milton made scored 39 points, handed out five assists and made seven of nine 3-pointers. Over a three-game span, Milton made an NBA-record 13 consecutive 3-point shots.
A lower back injury to Simmons – who has played less than five minutes in the last six games – made Brown return Milton to the rotation, and Milton has responded.
Milton has started the last four games, during which he’s averaged 21.3 points a game and made 17 of 23 3-pointers.
Brown is impressed.
“For him to hear that (about the benching), and then you learn, life changes and are you ready, he clearly is,” Brown said. “It’s a credit to Tyler Lashbrook, who is his development coach. He did his G League duties. He comes in and sits on the bench and swings a towel. Now in March, he’s the starting point guard on a pretty good team and just had 39 points on national TV against a candidate to win an NBA championship. It’s a hell of a story.”
Milton said he was discouraged, that “everybody wants to play, everybody wants to be in the rotation at all times. Just try to control what I can control, just keep putting in the work. The opportunity came and presented itself. I was going to be ready.”
Milton came out of Owasso in 2015, went to Southern Methodist University and played one year for coach Larry Brown and two for Tim Jankovich. Milton averaged 18.0 points a game as a junior in 2017-18, then declared for the NBA Draft.
The Mavericks picked Milton in the second round, then immediately traded him to the 76ers.
Milton played 20 games for the Sixers last season while playing 27 games for the G League Delaware Blue Coats. He also played six games for Delaware this season. Milton seemed a little advanced for the G League — he averaged 24.2 points over those 33 games; this season, Milton made 15 of his 33 G League 3-point attempts.
Now Milton is on the biggest stage of all and producing, after weathering some blunt truth from his coach.