Shake Milton and Norvel Pelle each have the physical profile of modern NBA players. Milton has good size and length for a wing. At 6’6″ with a reported 7′ wingspan and excellent shooting and scoring mechanics, Milton is thriving for the Delaware Blue Coats as a rookie.
The Sixers continue to struggle in terms of bench scoring and rim protection when Joel Embiid is not in the game. So are these two players candidates to help down the stretch this season?
Originally projected to go mid to late first round in the 2018 draft, Milton fell to the Sixers in the second round due to a back injury that cost Milton most of the summer. He is not the perpetual motion dynamo of the JJ Redick mold, but rather moves with a smooth glide that keeps him under control in most offensive situations.
Heading into the season, Head Coach Connor Johnson cited defense as his major area of growth potential, and Milton has shown some progress in that area. So as the Sixers head into the home stretch, many people are asking, can Milton play in the NBA right now?
In 126 minutes over 13 games for the Sixers, Milton has an offensive rating of 121 and defensive rating of 110. He is scoring 15.4 points per 36 minutes. The best comparison for him on the team right now would probably be Furkan Korkmaz. Milton projects as a better defender and scorer while Korkmaz has more professional and high level international competition experience.
Milton has converted 10 of his 25 NBA three point attempts, albeit mostly in games that were already decided and the benches had been emptied.
Milton is scoring nearly 25 points per game against G-League competition and is shooting 36% from three on nearly 6 attempts per game for Delaware. His shooting is smooth and clean and his True Shooting % of .570 is quite efficient for a shooting guard.
Pelle is an elite rim protector and roller. Connor Johnson recently had this to say about Pelle, “He’s the best rim protector in the G-League and can very clearly be one of the better rim protectors in the NBA.” At 6’11” with impeccable timing and elite athleticism for a big man, Pelle has many tools you would want as a 5 man in the NBA. His outside shot has not come around, but he is a lob threat in the style of DeAndre Jordan.
He worked out for the 76ers this past week in Camden. There has been no word from the team on how the workout went. Brett Brown was with the team on the road trip and was not present.
Connor Johnson has cited consistency and reliability as the only elements he is looking to see from Pelle.
After the game Saturday, Norvel talked about a range of topics including his game, learning from Amir Johnson, and his workout for the Sixers.
On what he brings to an NBA team:
“It was a great, was me, Zhaire, Shake and Joel.”
“As you can see, shot blocking, rebounding and energy, rim running, lob presence, everything.”
“My first step is a lot quicker than a lot of these guys, so being able to set the screen-and-roll and know they are going to drop back and still can’t cover me is a blessing.”
On learning from Amir Johnson:
“That’s OG, you know? It’s a veteran presence with nothing but positivity. Keeps you motivated to know that 14 years in the NBA, you know that could be me.”
“It just shows that no matter the age, the injuries, whatever you are going through, this is the outlet to clear your mind from everything and keep playing. Regardless if it’s in the NBA or the G League.”
On the Blue Coats budding relationship with the City of Wilmington home crowd
“We are trying to build a culture, we finally got a home base. We want everyone to know we are the Blue Coats.”
“For them to see that we are out here battling and fighting with our hearts… it’s all love at the end of the day.”