Sixers Excited for Alec Burks After His Breakout Game vs. Nets
PHILADELPHIA, PA -- Thursday was officially the two-week mark since the Philadelphia 76ers made their splash in the NBA trade market. While they didn't complete a blockbuster deal this year, the Sixers' still made an imprint on the market as they sent three second-round picks to Golden State in exchange for Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III.
Since the deal went through, the Sixers have played five games. Alec Burks only made appearances in two of them. His debut with the Sixers came last Tuesday as they hosted the Los Angeles Clippers before the NBA All-Star break. The former Warriors guard checked in for 14 minutes, as he barely made an impact on the game, scoring just two points.
On Thursday, the Sixers returned to the court once again to face the Brooklyn Nets. With Ben Simmons sitting out due to a back injury, it was expected that Alec Burks was going to pick up some more playing time, despite only being with the team for only about two weeks now. Brown gambled on his new guard against Brooklyn, and the former Warrior made it all pay off as he was a pivotal piece to the Sixers' comeback win on Thursday.
It wasn't a perfect night for Burks, who got off to a slow start due to a lack of opportunities. In the first half, he checked in for about seven minutes, where he only got up one shot. Despite having a quiet start, Brown stuck to his guns with Burks and found out just how impactful he could be for the Sixers.
"We tried to get him the ball in the second half more," Brown said after the game. "We're all learning; it wasn't an easy game to sub." Since the Sixers spent a good chunk of the second and third quarters trailing the Nets, Brown had to be careful with his rotations.
Fortunately, he made the right choice by giving Burks more than 12 minutes of playing time in the third and fourth quarters. "In general, the flow of the game was erratic at the start," Brown continued. "Alec [Burks] certainly came in and did what we scouted him to do."
When the Sixers acquired Burks at the deadline, the front office was hoping to supply the team with a three-point shooter and a shot-creator. He knocked down 55-percent of his shots from the field, and 50-percent of his three-point attempts while totaling for 19 points in just under 30 minutes of playing time off the bench.
Sixers' starting forward Tobias Harris acknowledged Burks' impact after the game. "He was big for us," Harris claimed. "He has a really good mid-range game and great speed going downhill. He was able to make some huge plays for us, especially in the fourth quarter. We just fed off his energy tonight. It was good to see him keep going in his second game with us. I think he's going to be great for us."
The man of the hour, Joel Embiid, might've been the Sixers' honorary bell-ringer for his outstanding performance on Thursday, but he wanted to share his postgame moment with Burks as he saw a notable impact from the new Sixer too. All season long, Embiid has been frustrated with the fact the Sixers don't have enough shot-creators on the floor. Now, the Sixers' big man is thanking the front office for Burks' presence.
"Since we got him, I felt like that was another guy that can create his own shot," Embiid declared. "Come off the screen, pull up behind the three-point line, and he's not afraid to take that shot. We need that, and we really haven't had that the last couple of years, so it's a good sight to see. A great job goes up to [Elton Brand] for making that [trade] happen."
Burks hasn't been with the Sixers for long, so the veteran guard was eager to have everybody on East Coast see how he "plays his game." Considering it's only his second matchup with the Sixers, he isn't raving about his performance. However, there's a good chance Burks sees his minutes continue to go up, and he's optimistic about fitting in better as the final third of the season progresses.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_