In the previous edition of the Golden Choice, I discussed Villanova point guard Jalen Brunson, who I still think will be a exceptional NBA player. Today, I am showcasing another point guard option.
A 6-foot-6 pass-first guard with a solid handle who can score off the dribble? Sounds like someone who could find themselves with the Bay Bridge on their uniform. Enter Shake Milton, Southern Methodist University’s (SMU) junior point guard.
Milton is averaging 18 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 22 games this season. While he clearly possesses one of the best names in college hoops, Milton’s projections are all over the place — I’ve read draft predictions with him landing in middle of the first round all the way to the middle of second round.
The pros and cons of Shake Milton
Milton is a big guard who likes to facilitate offense. His vision and size his best attributes and should translate nicely into the NBA. In recent drafts, the three-and-D style of wing—think Otto Porter— has been popularized. Milton is less of a wing and more of a natural point guard.
He’s also a solid shooter. In his three-year college career, he has shot 43% from long distance. This season he has made nearly 85% of his free throws. While he doesn’t shoot a ton of threes, those percentages are encouraging. Other than that, he plays solid defense that would only improve under the Golden State Warriors tutelage. His length makes him an excellent option to guard 1-3 especially against small-ball lineup.
Milton doesn’t have any glaring problems, but there are a couple scouting trends. His first-step quickness can improve and his two-point field goal percentage is under 50%. If he’s able to build his athleticism after college, his quickness should improve, and his efficiency for two-point shots should increase.
The bad news: SMU is having a horrid season so we won’t be able to watch Milton in the NCAA tournament unless SMU can win their conference tournament. Milton also recently injured his hand which will only add to his mystery. There’s no timetable on his return. Given this series of unfortunate events, Milton could still be a steal at the end of the first round.
Here is Milton putting up 33 points on Wichita State last month.
Power Rankings: Who should the Warriors draft?
For each draft piece, these rankings will be updated with new additions. Wagner could shoot up to the first round, but both have been moved down the list given current mock drafts. Hachimura is still a complete wildcard.
1. Shake Milton- SMU- junior, point guard (first or second rounder)
2. Jalen Brunson- Villanova, junior, point guard (first or second rounder)
3. Moritz Wagner- Michigan, junior, power forward (first or second rounder)
4. Bonzie Colson- Notre Dame, senior, forward (second rounder)
5. Rui Hachimura- Gonzaga, sophomore, forward (first or second rounder)