By: Kylan Watson
For most of the 2019-20 NBA season the Philadelphia 76ers were underachieving. They were projected to be a top seed in the Eastern Conference, but midway through the season they were the sixth seed and had a 39-26 record. With the season cut short by the Covid-19 outbreak in the United States. The team now has a new lease on life and are optimistic about their chances at playoff success.
The Sixers entered the season with one of the tallest starting line-ups in the league. The shortest player in the line-up is shooting guard Josh Richardson who is 6’6. The team also is led by Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. One of the most dominant duos in the league. However, injuries have severely affected the cohesiveness of the Sixers. The starting five has only played 19 games together. That also hindered them from forming chemistry and team success.
Now after a four-month layoff the Sixers have adjusted the starting line-up by inserting Guard Shake Milton, putting Al Horford on the bench, and moving Simmons to the power forward position.
The Sixers debut their new look line-up throughout three scrimmages, and they looked like a new team. Milton’s ability to be a consistent shooter has opened the floor for Simmons and Embiid. Defenses are not able to load the paint to stop them from attacking the basket.
The team will be relying on Milton’s ability to run the point at times, and so far, he has shown an ability to make the right decisions with the ball. He is a 2018 second round pick that the Sixers have a lot of faith in and have spent time developing. Milton really came on during Simmons’ absence with a back injury. During those last few games of the season. He won a player of the week award and was averaging 23.7 points per game during this stretch.
The development of Milton has been a feather in the cap of head coach Brett Brown. Brown will be relying on the new moves he has made to help unlock the Sixers.
These four months off have given the Sixers time to get healthy and develop some chemistry. They will have eight games to develop the rotations for the playoffs. With a pivotal game against the Pacers tomorrow at 7 pm to see if the Sixers have been unlocked, or if they still have work to do.