Trevor Booker making immediate impact for Sixers
It hasn’t taken veteran forward Trevor Booker long to find a niche role with the Philadelphia 76ers.
In the three games that he has played for the Sixers since being acquired from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Jahlil Okafor, Nik Stauskas, and a future second-round draft pick, Booker has found ways to contribute on both ends of the floor and has established himself as a key piece of the team’s rotation.
Booker, 30, has averaged 13.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, a steal and a block in 21.3 minutes of action per performance for the Sixers, but even more impressive than his stats has been the energy and intellect that he brings to the floor.
Booker’s energy is infectious – no wonder he has started to gel with T.J. McConnell on the second squad – and eight years of experience have helped hone a smart basketball mind that has almost seamlessly assimilated into the Sixers system. Throw in his versatility, and it’s no wonder that Brett Brown is such a big fan of the addition.
“God, he plays hard,” Brown said after the Sixers loss to the Pelicans on Sunday. “He’s so athletic, deceptively strong. He has a bounce. I feel like we’ve inherited something that’s going to help us, and I think his energy has been excellent.”
Adding to his value is that fact that, on a young team ripe with burgeoning stars, Booker knows his role and plays to his strengths.
“I think one of the things that makes him unique - it’s the reason he’s stayed in the league so long and plays - is he knows who he is,” Brown said of Booker. “He’s not trying to reinvent himself. It’s a simple game, it’s a man’s game, it’s a physical game, it’s a move the ball game. And, he defends.”
The long-term merits of the trade are debatable, as Okafor (21) and Stauskas (24) are both substantially younger than Booker and could both still develop into solid players - and Booker is set for free agency in the offseason - but in the now, the deal could be assessed as a win for the Sixers. Okafor and Stauskas were both out of the rotation, and in Booker, the Sixers have found a glue guy that can log legitimate minutes and provide positive production as they push for playoff contention this season.
Follow Michael Kaskey-Blomain on Twitter @therealmikekb.