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Sixers sign Shake Milton to two-way contract

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USC v SMU Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

From the Sixers’ press release:

PHILADELPHIA — JULY 26, 2018 — Philadelphia 76ers Head Coach Brett Brown announced today that the team has signed guard Shake Milton to a two-way contract. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Per NBA rules, teams are permitted to sign two players to two-way contracts in addition to the 15-man NBA regular-season roster. A two-way player for the 76ers will provide services to the team’s G League affiliate – the Delaware Blue Coats – but can spend up to 45 days with the 76ers, not including any time spent with Philadelphia prior to the start of Blue Coats’ training camp or following the conclusion of Delaware’s regular season.

The 76ers acquired the draft rights to Milton (No. 54 overall) from Dallas in a draft-night trade in exchange for the draft rights to the No. 56 overall pick, Ray Spalding from Louisville, and the No. 60 overall pick, Kostas Antetokounmpo from Dayton.

A 6-foot-5 guard, Milton averaged 18.0 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 2017-18, his junior season at SMU and he improved his scoring and rebounding averages in each of his three seasons with the Mustangs. For his collegiate career, he appeared in 87 games (80 starts) and posted 13.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.1 steals in 34.7 minutes per contest.

It was a bit unexpected to see Milton go as late as he did in the 2018 NBA draft. And by many accounts, he had a poor showing at the combine. But Milton did show talent on both sides of the ball in college (SMU), and he was reported to have suffered a stress fracture in his back during the pre-draft process, which would explain the lousy combine. Back injuries are another concern their own, but it’s always good to see a draft pick go to use in the form of a player (rather than blowing the pick or selling it — and that’s not a shot at anyone in particular). Teams can never have enough scoring, ball-handling and defense, and that’s what Milton’s upside offers. Whether he gets there or not, we can only know as the season (or really, his career) progresses.

Signing Milton to a two-way contract relieves him of the pressure to contribute at an NBA level right away and provides him time in the G-League instead of nearly a season’s worth of DNPs, all the while leaving the door open to join the Sixers for stretches should he deserve that role. Getting Milton on a two-way also has the added benefit of allowing the Sixers more roster flexibility, as the 15-man roster doesn’t include two-way players.