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Tyrese Maxey and Shake Milton: From North Texas to the 76ers’ back bench (for now)

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Portland, Ore – after Philadelphia 76ers’ 105-95 win over Portland Trail Blazers On Thursday, their fourth consecutive win in the current West Coast swing, Milton shook He was calmly answering a question in the visitors’ cramped locker room. That’s even Therese Maxi He walked behind the scrum and loudly began imitating Milton.

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Yes, I have buckets! Yes, go left! Step back!Maxi said.

Neither Maxie nor Milton were self-promoters, but Maxie’s expression was his own. It was loud, especially when compared to Milton’s monotonous delivery. The scene enveloped the couple’s individual dynamic, at the moment, among the Sixers’ backup backcourt.

As Coach Doc Rivers puts it, “They’re two completely different people.”

And while Maxie and Milton are keenly aware of their contrasting personalities, a close bond has developed between the two Rangers over the past three seasons.

“I mean, Shake is as unassuming and low-key as any human I’ve ever been around,” Rivers said. “Trying to read Shake is an impossible read, but you know, at the end of the day, he’s in a good place most of the time. And then, Tyrese is so easygoing. He’s happy most of the time.”

One of the biggest recent stories about the Sixers has been decision to move Maxi on the bench. And if there are three starting lineups, as Rivers pointed out, we haven’t seen them yet because Maxi has come off the bench for three straight games, every Sixers win.

One of the major dominoes of the listing decision De Anthony Melton Maxie’s place is Maxie and Milton play more together on backup units. After the Sixers beat clippers On Tuesday, Rivers said, “I just think Shake and Tyrese have a good thing going.” Statistically speaking, this was very much the case. Not only did Maxie (15 points, 7-of-12 shooting) and Melton (10 points, 4-of-7 shooting) play key roles in Portland’s rout, but they’ve been really good together all season. On 430 possessions this season, the Sixers have a 15.3-plus net rating with Maxey and Milton on the ground, according to Cleaning The Glass.

The Sixers were elite at both ends when Milton and Maxie played together. And six years ago, at the start of the franchise Joel EmbiidRecently hit, the backcourt met midway cross country out NBAflashing lights

Crossing lanes in Dallas

After nearly two decades of coaching at the high school level, Tyrone Maxey was named Director of Player Development at SMU in 2017. The Mustangs MVP for the upcoming season was Milton, a rookie guard from Owasu, Okla.

“What I remember most about Shake is his work ethic,” said Tyrone Maxey. the athlete. “And I remember him shooting a basketball, like, This kid doesn’t miss. He doesn’t miss.”

Milton would routinely put himself through rigorous early morning and late afternoon workouts with SMU assistant Nemanja “Yogi” Jovanovic. And when Tyrone noticed these sessions, he couldn’t help but remember Another crazy worker He knew all too well: his son, Terris, a five-star recruit who was playing his junior year at nearby South Garland High School. Tyrese recalled how Tyrone told him to watch out for Milton during SMU games, specifically his speed when playing Pick-and-Roll.

During the season, Tyrone said he would discuss with fellow assistant coach KT Turner how they felt Milton was a lock to be an NBA player. And to Tyrone, it’s down to developing the skills Milton honed over the holiday season. It was the same kind of work that Terese, heading to Kentucky in a few years, would do three to four times a week with his father.

“Work is inevitable. You have to work to be the best at your craft,” Tyrone said. “At the time, Shake was the best at his craft at SMU. And of course, Tyrese was the best at his craft in high school.”

Both Milton and Terese admit that they did not interact much at that point. They certainly met — Terris would occasionally watch Mustangs practice or practice one-on-ones with his dad — but there was also a four-year age gap between two men who weren’t playing together. When asked what he remembers about Terese at high school age, Milton said, “Just a little kid smiling all the time. You know, hella energy.”

Fast forward two and a half years later, as Tyrone watched his son make his regular season NBA debut against Washington Wizards In front of a mostly empty Wells Fargo Center.

His backcourt mate when he first got on the ground as Sixer? Milton.

“Everybody was thinking through me as a coach at SMU, Tyrese coming over there and this, and this and the other,” Tyrone said. “If Terese had come in there, Shake would have been a senior. It was kind of surreal.”


Doc Rivers chats with Tyrese Maxey and Shake Milton. (Bill Streicher / USA Today)

relationship forms

How Maxie and Milton became the temporary backup backcourt that involved shuffling the Sixers’ rotational ends. In a sense, both players met in the middle from their starting position.

Maxie’s story, and the Sixers’ potential to improve defensively with Milton playing alongside him James Harden It is well documented at the start of the games. It will remain an interesting dynamic as the in-form Maxie is the Sixers’ third best player and the only young talent on the team. How long would it be practical for this player to come off the bench?

Milton, in a nod to his easygoing demeanor, has flown even more under the radar. The season started on the sidelines of the rotation, with no guarantee of minutes. After a slow start, the fifth-year guard averages 12.2 points and 3.9 assists per game on 51/41/86 percent shooting splits. When talking about the final guard/winger position in the rotation this week, Rivers simply said, “I shook it.” he will not be there Quiet heroism this year.

“He didn’t play much to start the season because we were trying to figure out who was going to play,” Maxi said. “But he stays patient, and works hard at his game. … I’m so happy for him because that’s such a strength of mind.”

As a junior in 2020-21, before he was undoubtedly a franchise brick, Maxi found himself in a similar sideline rotation spot. He played most but not all of the Sixers’ games that season.

Maxi says Milton was one of the players who helped him the most during that season. Milton would warn him that an opportunity could knock at any moment in the NBA, whether through injury or some other circumstance. When he thought the talented rookie had a golden opportunity, Milton told him.

“When you have a guy like that growing up, and they have confidence in you, it builds confidence in yourself,” said Maxi.

At that point, Milton was ahead of Maxi in the turn. That changed with Maxey’s rise, though the idea that the NBA is a fierce competition for minutes and playing time just didn’t happen. So why would Milton go out of his way to help someone who could theoretically take over his job?

“I think the desire to see others succeed also inspires your own growth,” Melton said. “And then, being in the same position as a lot of these guys, having their ups and downs especially early in my career, playing, not playing, a lot of guys were in the same position. So, it’s easy to kind of relate to.”

Now, Milton is giving advice to Maxie on the art of getting off the bench and how that approach differs from getting started. Maxey, for his part, has shot 7 of 12 from the field in the Sixers’ last two games.

Milton, who called him a “microwave” about the Sixers (coach Kevin Johnson said Milton reminded him of pistons Legend Vinnie Johnson, the original “Microwave” (the name has stuck since), is confident Maxey can thrive in the role.

“It’s more about confidence than anything else,” Melton said. “I mean, at this level, I feel like everyone’s working hard, but it’s more of a no-denial mentality.”

Similar players but different

Perhaps the best way to describe Maxie and Milton’s approaches to the field is that they do the same things in different ways.

“Both of them can reach the basket; Rivers said. “Terrans attack quickly and rock with a shake. So, they do it differently, but they do the same thing.”

Milton added this summary: “Boaters of the like kind get buckets, and other men are engaged also.”

What Maxie and Melton do well is score, especially on the rebound. However, they handle it differently. The video below shows how Milton halted a 14-0 Blazers rally in the second half of Thursday’s game, an important bucket for stemming the tide. He methodically used two screens to get a proper match across the corkscrew and used his foot movements and long reach to softly drop a drag jump over it. Drew Eubanks.

During Maxi’s early Portland onslaught, he spurned a screen with his speed, blew it away Little Nasser It ended with a minute float. Non-returnable buckets are done quite differently.

There are some key similarities between Milton and Maxie’s skill sets. Maxie shot a hook on Thursday, something Milton will try on occasion. Overall, though, Milton has more strength and length while Maxey has more speed and explosiveness. The goal remains the same.

“Our conversations are always really simple when we’re on the field,” Melton said. It’s just like, ‘You, attack. Attack him. get it. Any time when we played together, especially with him coming off the bench recently, it was just, ‘You know, we have to put in a certain amount of points’. That’s what we’re talking about.”

Rivers will also assign Maxie and Melton to run the same plays. A good example of this is what the Sixers call a “swing” move, which involves picking up and rolling to one side of the floor, a quick swing to the other side and then a slot drive.

“Swing” should benefit from helping the defender a lot to nail, which is why Maxey’s speed makes him devastating as the ultimate driver on the weak side. On a play from earlier in the week, Melton swung the ball to him for a straight drive.

And Thursday in Portland, Milton received that holeshot drive and drew a foul Josh Hart.

The Sixers are starting to look like the team they had high expectations going into the season. How long Maxi will remain on the bench is unknown. But wherever they play, Milton and Teracy will challenge each other.

“I think our mindsets are similar,” Melton said. “We always push each other too. That’s one of the things I appreciate most about him, seeing what he’s doing and then it makes me want to work harder. And I’m sure the opposite is true.”

(Top photo of Shake Milton and Tyrese Maxey: David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

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