Shake Milton cements Wolves role as he knocks Knicks around

Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

If you had reservations about the hoopla and hype over the Minnesota Timberwolves’ latest free-agent addition, combination guard Shake Milton, you can relax now. After three preseason games, I don’t think it’s a fluke or random chance. Shake really appears to love how the Timberwolves are making use of him, and that passion continues to show in each of his appearances.

In terms of minutes played in the third preseason game of the season against the New York Knicks, Shake Milton was fifth. Only forward Kyle Anderson had more minutes off the bench, and only three starters in center Rudy Gobert, power forward Karl-Anthony Towns, and shooting guard Anthony Edwards, had larger roles.

Only center Naz Reid, Towns, and Edwards scored more than Shake Milton’s 12 points. And only Slo-Mo dished out more assists than Shake Milton’s six assists:

When your third game as a member of the Timberwolves roster finds you mentioned with Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, and Naz Reid, you know you are delivering on the basketball court.

Shake shines in Madison Square Garden

The thing is, Shake Milton is really a solid fit for the Minnesota Timberwolves. While the Timberwolves starters were not getting the type of dominating minutes that they had bestowed in their first two preseason games against the Dallas Mavericks, the Timberwolves bench proved that it was up to the challenge in this one.

The Timberwolves bench supplied 71 of the 121 points scored against the Knicks, That was the margin of victory, as the New York Knicks bench delivered 61 of their 112 points in a losing cause.

Starting point guard Mike Conley Jr. did not appear to have his best against the Knicks, finishing with just 19 minutes, five points, three assists, and a (+/-) of -17. Thankfully, the Timberwolves were able to give him a full assist thanks to the heroics of Milton and Kyle Anderson. The Timberwolves had some of the best ball movement going in this one, which seemed to electrify the entire team in ways that simply do not show up in the box scores.

Wolves nicked one from the Knicks

The Timberwolves were hustling hard and made saves that prevented the basketball from going out of bounds and becoming another turnover but rather resulted in points for the Wolves.

The Knicks are known for getting points in the paint and rebounding. But by the end of this one, the Wolves matched their paint presence and rebounding.

The difference maker in this one turned out to be the fact that the Timberwolves scored on 20 of 48 three-point shots, which was good enough for a 41.7 percent rate. The Knicks were only able to score on 13 of 35 attempts, which was only good enough for a 37.1 percent success rate.

Naz Reid and Shake Milton combined for seven of 12 perimeter shots for the Timberwolves in a winning effort.

Timberwolves Head Coach Chris Finch gushed over Shake Milton earlier in the preseason after a similar effort against the Dallas Mavericks:

So you know he was pleased with his new guard in this one. Coach Finch is not the only one who was impressed by Shake Milton, though. It’s clear that Shake Milton is going to be a dependable contributor for the Timberwolves, whether off the bench or in a starting role. And that is going to make a huge difference for this team this season.

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