Burke Capitalizes on Opportunity

by Lauren Rosen

These days, the 76ers' mindset has been simple and singular. 

"Next man up," as Josh Richardson calls it. 

In the absence of All-Star Ben Simmons (shoulder), the team hasn't had any other choice, and over the last two games, Trey Burke has been that "next man."

Sunday at The Center, the veteran tallied 12 points, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 19 minutes.

“We needed this one,” he said following the Sixers' 114-109 win over Charlotte. “[The] biggest thing coming into tonight was setting the tone.”

With Raul Neto (9 pts, 4 ast, 1 stl) as Sunday’s starter, Burke helped the bench unit to a 47-point performance, showing quick and seamless chemistry with teammates during just his second active regular season game as a Sixer.

Burke saw his first minutes as a 76er Friday in Denver, where he contributed five points, three assists, a rebound, and a block, finishing plus-10 in 18 minutes.

Burke’s head coach liked what he saw.

“I thought he was great. I thought he provided a spark. He’s a waterbug,” Brett Brown said Friday. “He plays with a pace there’s a toughness that I think all teams need. I thought he was excellent.”

That toughness could be key for the Sixers as they continue pursuing a championship, and Burke is staying prepared.

“This is a new situation for me - a championship-type organization,” Burke said. “I know I was going to have to be patient.”

Burke has a proven work ethic, making strong contributions for the Knicks and Mavericks last year after spending time in the G League in 2017-18.

The 2018-19 season was one of the strongest in Burke’s career, as he averaged 10.9 points and 2.7 assists in 19.4 minutes of play.

After waiting for his moment in the early days of the 2019-20 season, Burke was ready when his number was called.

“I’m a competitor,” Burke said. “I feel like I can help this team out, so it was good to get back out there.”

Burke’s next opportunity could come as early as Tuesday, as the team hosts Cleveland at The Center.

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