When the Minnesota Timberwolves entered the 2023 NBA off-season, I have little doubt that Philadelphia 76ers guard Shake Milton was not a priority free agent signing. In fact, there were questions over whether the Sixers would be willing to part ways with Milton with the likely scenario of their losing veteran shooting guard James Harden to free agency.
But from the moment he became a free agent, clearly researching who he was and what he brought to each game birthed the realization that he was an ideal fit for the Timberwolves roster this year. A bit of versatility, a point guard who can create shots and opportunities without the basketball in his hands. A defender who can score, or a scorer who can defend.
The Timberwolves know that they are in a race to find a young point guard who can complement but also keep up with the career of All-Star shooting guard Anthony Edwards. That is not to say that he must score 30+ points a night.
Rather, the Timberwolves need a young point guard who can run the floor, keep a handle on the basketball, play solid defense, score as needed, set good floor spacing, and distribute the basketball to the open shooter.
Simple, right? Now the question is, did the team find their guy?
They certainly did land a good one on a great team-friendly deal.
Might Mlton be a missing piece?
Well, it could be that simple. Shake Milton is about to compete in his sixth NBA season. He has played in 254 games with 45 starts in the regular season and played in 34 games in the NBA Playoffs and started four. He has a fine perimeter shot that seems to get better in the postseason, and he has a skill set that allows him to deliver in many ways when he steps foot onto the basketball court.
The Minnesota Timberwolves need a young guard who can deliver off the bench, and remain cool, calm, and collected in the process. When going over scouting reports from Shake Milton’s role with the Philadelphia 76ers, I discovered that Milton never faltered in his production. He was merely shaved from playing minutes as the Sixers shrank their rotation.
But if that is the case, did the Timberwolves strike Wolves gold in free agency? After all, if the guy can play defense, score from long-range, and handle a basketball, he is a solid addition to the Timberwolves roster. And he has a chance with the Wolves to improve his playing time. In fact, he is a very capable double-double player (points and assists) if given the chance.
The Timberwolves need a future point guard. Will Shake Milton develop into that guy? That remains to be seen. But for a player who put up 15 points and 16 assists in the 81st game of the 2022-23 NBA season against the Atlanta Hawks, I’m looking forward to seeing how well he competes for the role this year.