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Sixers' Shake Milton Isn't Thinking About Sixth-Man of the Year

Shake Milton is just trying to get Ws.

Doc Rivers knows a thing or two about getting the best out of the key players who come off the bench. Jamal Crawford, Lou Williams, and Montrezl Harrell have all won the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year Award under Rivers, after all.

That was in the past when Rivers ran the show with the Los Angeles Clippers. Now, Rivers is focused on helping one of his Philadelphia 76ers players thrive in that role. And Sixers third-year guard Shake Milton seems up for the challenge.

Last year, Milton's emergence surprised many late in the season. As the Sixers had injury concerns and a lack of depth, Milton actually found himself in the starting lineup when the team resumed action down in the bubble.

Rivers has different plans for him this season, though. Although he's not opposed to starting Milton, Rivers has made it clear that he likes Milton coming off the bench. And the third-year guard doesn't have any issues with it.

"I just want to do whatever is best for the team -- whatever helps the team win," Milton said a few weeks back. "It doesn't really matter if I'm starting or not, it's just an opportunity thing, and I have a really good opportunity coming off the bench right now."

With Milton coming off the bench, the young guard is thriving. In 17 games this season, Milton has averaged 14 points-per-game, and 3.1 assists-per-game coming off the bench. While there's still a lot of basketball left to be played this season, Milton has frequently come up in conversations regarding Sixth Man of the Year early on.

Earning the nod would be a great personal accomplishment for Milton in year three, but the young guard has made it clear that awards are not on his mind at this moment. Instead, he's focused on the success of the team.

"[I'm] not really [focused on Sixth Man of the Year]," Milton said on Sunday following the team's shootaround in Indiana. "I'm just trying to get 'Ws.' Each game we come out here, I'm trying to get wins. Hopefully, we put ourselves in a good position and end up being first in the East and go from there. That's our goal, that's what we want to accomplish."

"Individually, I don't really look at that type of stuff," he continued. "I just try to get better each game, and that's pretty much it." Like the rest of his Sixers teammates, Milton feels that team-wide success is most important this season. 

And as the Sixers are currently the hottest team in the Eastern Conference, all Milton is focused on is sustaining this early success. As long as he has a helping hand in doing so, the individual awards will likely follow. 

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