Nickeil Alexander Walker
If the Plan B option of the Timberwolves’ depth chart intended to move Nickeil Alexander-Walker to a backup point guard role, then NAW is clearly a winner with this signing. While I am confident that Nickeil Alexander-Walker has the right mindset to compete at any NBA position that he sets his mind to, I cannot envision how NAW at point guard is the best use of his talent.
I love the versatility of what Alexander-Walker brings to the Timberwolves roster, an appreciation that grew exponentially when I saw how effectively he could step up in Round 1 of the 2023 NBA Playoffs. To be honest, it may have been NAW’s starting over forward Taurean Prince in the playoffs that ultimately determined the Timberwolves’ off-season strategy now.
Milton is arriving new, and as such, he hasn’t built familiarity with the Timberwolves roster or roles just yet. I believe that makes him the optimal candidate to line up behind Mike Conley Jr. on the depth chart, which allows NAW to remain a viable and effective 3-and-D component.
The Minnesota Timberwolves know that to optimize Anthony Edwards’s ability to slash and drive to the basket, this team will need to load up on perimeter shooting. But we also know from the failed D’Angelo Russell experiment that the Timberwolves need defenders who do more than score and then pat themselves on the back for making a shot.
Shake Milton treasures that same firey passion for the game as Anthony Edwards does, as both are eager to do everything and anything required to win the game. Even though Shake Milton is 26+ years old, he is entering just the sixth NBA season of his career.
Players who play well in the NBA are not hard to find. Players who play hard in the NBA, however, can be far less common than you may realize. Shake Milton is an ideal player to pair up with Anthony Edwards because he creates space with a solid perimeter shot, he is a 6-foot-5 guard with a solid 7-foot-0 wingspan. And unlike his time with the 76ers, Milton will be mixed and matched in various rotations while Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch tries to GPS his skillset and match him up with the best five to unlock his potential.
Shake Milton has never proven that he can be the star of the show. But he has never had the chance to play with a roster and in rotations that flex so many scorers onto the basketball court at the same time. Yes, the Philadelphia 76ers could score. But Shake Milton was not on the court when they were. There is a lot to love about Shake Milton on the Minnesota Timberwolves roster.
But don’t take my word for it. Just sit back and wait. Mike Conley Jr., Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and especially Anthony Edwards, will all be singing his praises soon enough.