Skip to main content

There is a severe lack of point guard depth in Philadelphia right now. After the Sixers moved on from veteran ball-handler George Hill in the offseason, the Sixers were left with just Ben Simmons, Tyrese Maxey, and Shake Milton.

Since the preseason, Simmons has been a no-show for the Sixers on game night. While it seems the entire Simmons saga is moving in the right direction as of now, there is no timetable for the three-time All-Star's return.

Simmons' absence in the preseason left Doc Rivers and the Sixers picking between the second-year guard Tyrese Maxey or the fourth-year guard Shake Milton to insert in the starting lineup. As each prospect was set to start two games and come off the bench for the others, a point guard battle ensued.

However, Milton lost by default as his preseason was derailed by an ankle injury, which he suffered in training camp. Milton missed the final two games after getting diagnosed with a sprained ankle two games into the preseason.

And ever since the regular season tipped off last Wednesday with a matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans, Milton has yet to see the floor. The Sixers have started Maxey and rolled with Furkan Korkmaz as the backup ball-handler for the last four games.

While both guards have had some promising moments, they've also shown some struggles as well. And after Tuesday night's draining defeat against the New York Knicks on the road, it's clear the Sixers need Simmons or Milton to return to offer the team a different look on offense.

Milton's return might be closer than Simmons' at this point, but Doc Rivers didn't exactly leave reporters with an encouraging sign on Tuesday night in regards to Milton's eventual return to the court.

"I always go by (the medical staff)," said Rivers, according to Ky Carlin of USA Today's Sixers Wire. "They didn't say anything to me. So that means he's not ready yet. They tell you when he's ready and when he's close, and no one's even broached the subject. But, he clearly is moving better. So I keep saying it can't be far away."

Rivers has gone back and forth with updates regarding Milton over the last couple of weeks. While he made it clear that the veteran guard wasn't close to returning ahead of the season opener, he also revealed that Milton has been moving a lot better. On Tuesday, he offered a similar update. While Milton might be trending in the right direction and avoiding setbacks, he's still questionable to return this week.

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.