Brett Brown has Ben Simmons locked in at Power Forward
A suspended NBA season may have been the best thing that has ever happened to the Sixers. For a team that couldn’t piece it together all season long, the break from action turned out to be extremely helpful.
- Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are 100% healthy and in fantastic shape.
- Tobias Harris continued to work on the team’s chemistry throughout quarantine.
- Al Horford has been given the opportunity to hit the reset button.
- Matisse Thybulle has turned into a TikTok star and now filmmaker.
- The Mike Scott Hive has all but disappeared from Twitter.
The list goes on, but the most important news came from Brett Brown’s virtual interview with the media today: Ben Simmons has been primarily playing the power forward position while Shake Milton has been running point guard.
Let’s start with Shake Milton as the starting point guard. Post All-Star break, Shake Milton started to make a name for himself. Given the injuries to the Sixers starting lineup, Milton was able to come alive. Milton averaged 16.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 3.8 assists, while shooting 59.2 percent from downtown. During that stretch, he recorded a 39-point game and tied the NBA’s record for 13-consecutive made 3-pointers over the stretch of three games.
For a brief moment before the NBA season was cancelled, it looked like Shake Milton was becoming the 3rd star for the 76ers. We haven’t even been able to scratch the surface of having him and Josh Richardson in the backcourt, with Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid upfront.
Having Shake work in the pick & roll and his ability to shoot such a high percentage from beyond the arch is crucial for a Sixers team that has missed that type of player since JJ Reddick left town before the start of last season.
Ben Simmons at Power Forward is another great move by Brett Brown. It’s something we never had the benefit of really exploring, given the lack of talent and players at the guard position on the Sixers over the last few years. This year is much different. The Sixers have a fantastic bench heading into the bubble. Thanks to Shake Milton, we don’t have to rely on Ben Simmons as a point guard.
Simmons will now have the ability to really benefit from playing off-ball and in the pick & roll. It will keep the majority of his scoring opportunities exactly where he wants to be, down-low and close to the basket. His passing ability will allow him to work the ball back outside around the perimeter to Josh Richardson, Shake Milton, and Furkan Korkmaz for the open shot. Opposing teams will no longer be able to sit back and clog the paint as Ben Simmons is bringing the ball up court.
I have been extremely vocal about putting Shake Milton in the starting point guard position and moving Ben Simmons to either the 3 or 4 position. Brett Brown has finally made a much needed adjustment. Let’s hope they continue to build and explore this new lineup so we can see it in action in 2 weeks down in the bubble at Disney World.