An explosive Sixers guard has long been my white whale. After sitting through The Process and excitedly watching the Sixers draft four-consecutive big men (yes, Ben Simmons is a big man), I was ready for a crafty scorer who can get to the rim and hit pretty pull-up shots.
I thought Markelle Fultz was going to be that dude for me, but he turned into... something else entirely.
Jimmy Butler was a dog in the playoffs, but his reign in Philly was fleeting.
I would've settled for the ghost of Hal Greer at a certain point.
Sixers fans finally have their reward for dealing with the post-Allen Iverson hole in their hearts: Shake Milton and Tyrese Maxey.
Hand up. I didn't think much of Shake when he came out of SMU two years ago, but he showcased a drive a didn't know existed in him last season. He dropped 39 on the Clippers back in March and had the gall to ISO against Paul George without a second of hesitation. This guy felt ripped from a Philadelphia Catholic League playoff game at the Palestra where the walls are sweating.
Five of the last seven Sixth Man of the Year Award winners have come from teams Doc Rivers has coached and I'm banking on Milton continuing that trend in 2021.
Everything about Tyrese Maxey feels un-Sixers-like in the best possible way. An uber-talented guard from the premier program in the country in Kentucky fell into the Sixers' lap with the 21st pick in the draft? It feels too good to be true, but from his brief preseason minutes, I'm ready to call Maxey the Sixers' best finisher at the rim since Iverson himself. We're talking about the lowest bar possible to clear here, like being the most sure-handed Eagles receiver, but Maxey oozes potential.
Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are the stars in Philly. Obviously. The nucleus around them is finally coming into place. Vets like Seth Curry and Danny Green will raise the Sixers' floor this season, but it's the potential and promise of both Milton and Maxey that could have the Sixers breaking through the glass of their ceiling.
Again, Simmons and Embiid are All-NBA players, but the basketball fan in me is mad that the Sixers fan in me doesn't get to see guards go full supernova and get buckets. With Milton just 24 and Maxey only 20, I want the Wells Fargo Center to feel like a game of NBA Jam for years to come behind their scoring punch.