76ers

While the timing is tough, news on Shake Milton's injury is encouraging

While the timing is tough, news on Shake Milton's injury is encouraging

While timing is never really good for an injury, Shake Milton’s seems especially ill-timed.

It was discovered that Milton suffered a bone bruise and a mild left knee sprain after he underwent testing Tuesday, according to a team source. While Milton is expected to miss time, the news is encouraging, and he’ll be re-evaluated following the team’s upcoming West Coast trip.

The second-year guard slipped and went down late in the third quarter Monday on a drive against the Hawks’ Jabari Parker and grabbed at his left knee. He left the court under his own power. 

The shame of it is that Milton had been playing well and appeared to be carving out a role in Brett Brown’s rotation.

The 23-year-old put up nine points in 12 minutes Monday after putting up 10 points in 12 minutes during a win in Detroit Saturday. On a team that desperately needs shooting, Milton has provided that. The 2018 second-round pick out of SMU has hit 4 of 9 from three on the young season.

Brown would frequently mention Milton when talking about the backup point guard battle and rotational discussions in general. He lauded Milton’s offensive game, but also his improvement on the other end.

“Defensive fundamentals, defensive pride, defensive knowledge,” Brown said on Oct. 16 when asked where Milton has improved. “And you go to the offensive side, the game comes easy to him. He's fluid. Danny Green did this during my Spurs life where he would sit there and sit there and sit there and then you put him in the game in the fourth period, third period, and he'd just be sitting and he'd come in like, 'bam, bam.' He can make a shot cold. Shake does that quite often. He can just sit there and come in and first open look, he's making shots. And so I just think the game comes easy to him. He surely can shoot. And I think that he's improved his defense. And so the question is difference between last year and this year it's defense and the pieces of defense that I just said.”

The team will likely turn back to Furkan Korkmaz, who’s had a few of his minutes stolen by Milton. Brown also has veteran point guards Raul Neto and Trey Burke he can turn to with his super versatile roster. 

The Sixers’ slate out West ends on Nov. 8 in Denver. We may get a clearer picture on how long this injury sidelines Milton then.

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NBA Rumors: Buddy Hield's comments should have Sixers fans intrigued

NBA Rumors: Buddy Hield's comments should have Sixers fans intrigued

The Sixers haven't even started the playoffs, but a potential offseason storyline is already bubbling up.

Kings guard Buddy Hield has been long tied to the Sixers as a potential trade target, from insider chatter to fan speculation, to his accidental (?) fueling of those rumors when he liked an Instagram post earlier this year with a hypothetical trade moving him to Philly.

So when the Kings' season ended Thursday, and Hield was asked if he's comfortable with his role off the bench in Sacramento heading into next season, his answer raised some eyebrows.

Including, I'd imagine, some in Philadelphia.

Here's what Hield had to say:

[Hield] provided a series of short answers during a Zoom session with reporters and offered a cryptic response when asked if he could be content with his role going into next season.

"Y'all know me," Hield said. "Y'all know how I talk. Y'all know how I feel. Y'all can read me well, so I'll let y'all answer that yourselves."

Pretty spicy. That doesn't sound like someone who wants to stay where he is!

Hield signed a four-year extension with Sacramento last October, but the Kings regressed in their first year under head coach Luke Walton, and The Athletic reported in February that Hield, unhappy with his role, might be eyeing a move elsewhere.

It doesn't sound like Hield's concerns about his role have changed much since then. If he's unhappy, he could theoretically ask for a trade - or Sacramento could pre-emptively try to get something for the still-young shooter.

I examined the potential fit back in April, including the hypothetical Hield-for-Horford deal from that fateful Instagram post:

In terms of contract length and salary hit, the Hield and Horford deals are strikingly similar, and Hield's game would be an instant improvement for the Sixers' offensive spacing: he's a two-guard who shoots a career 41.1 percent from deep, and can create his own shot. Plus, he's substantially younger than Horford.

Will the move happen? If the Kings deem their relationship with Hield unfixable, it's possible. Horford hasn't fit well in Philly, but he's still a savvy veteran with a good track record. And Hield would certainly check the boxes for the Sixers' front office.

Hield shot 39% from deep this year on 9.5 (!) three-point attempts per game, is a career 41% three-point shooter over 315 games, and would be a perfect match for the Sixers. 

We'll see.

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2020 NBA playoffs: Schedule for Sixers-Celtics series is set

2020 NBA playoffs: Schedule for Sixers-Celtics series is set

The Sixers’ second playoff series against the Celtics in three seasons is on the horizon, and we now know exactly when it will begin.

The series will kick off Monday at 6:30 p.m., the Sixers’ first postseason game since Kawhi Leonard’s indelible buzzer-beater in Game 7 of the second round on May 12, 2019. 

Below is the full schedule, with all times Eastern Standard Time:

Game 1: Monday, Aug. 17 — Sixers at Celtics, 6:30 p.m. 
Game 2: Wednesday, Aug. 19 — Sixers at Celtics, 6:30 p.m. 
Game 3: Friday, Aug. 21 — Sixers vs. Celtics, 6:30 p.m. 
Game 4: Sunday, Aug. 23 — Sixers vs. Celtics, 1 p.m. 
Game 5: Tuesday, Aug. 25 — Sixers at Celtics, TBD
Game 6: Thursday, Aug. 27 — Sixers vs. Celtics, TBD 
Game 7: Saturday, Aug. 29 — Sixers at Celtics, TBD

Of course, Games 5 through 7 will only be played if necessary, and there’s no such thing as a true home game when the teams are playing at Disney World during a pandemic. The Sixers do have PA announcer Matt Cord virtually handling starting lineup introductions, plus the Wendy’s Frosty Freeze-out and other trademarks of a usual home game. They were 29-2 at Wells Fargo Center this season before the NBA’s hiatus, the best home mark in the league. 

Led by All-Stars Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum, Boston should be favored in this series against a Sixers team missing Ben Simmons. The 24-year-old had surgery Monday to remove a loose body from his left knee, leaving the Sixers reliant on Joel Embiid and complementary pieces like Josh Richardson and Al Horford. Tobias Harris, who has averaged 22.3 points and 8.0 rebounds in the Sixers’ seeding games, will also likely need to elevate his game. 

Embiid is listed as questionable because of left ankle soreness for the team’s final seeding game Friday night at 9 p.m. against the Rockets. He had a short night Wednesday vs. the Raptors after being hit on the right wrist and had negative X-rays on his hand.

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