Trey Burke off to a Promising Start With 76ers
CAMDEN, NJ (973espn.com) -- Two days are in the books for the Philadelphia 76ers offseason training camp. On Tuesday, the team packed into their practice facility in Camden, New Jersey as a whole for the first time this offseason and put together what sounded like the best, first practice for the Sixers in quite some time.
At least, that's what the newly re-signed star Ben Simmons said. While Simmons' statement was bold, nobody could really disagree as Joel Embiid, and even head coach Brett Brown would stand with Simmons' day one assessment.
This year, Ben Simmons will have to take on more of a leadership role now that he's viewed as one of the team's highest-paid players in year three with his brand new contract. With that role, Simmons has to do more than just play ball. He also has to observe what's going on around him.
So when asked who stood out to Simmons the most on Tuesday, the star guard didn't hesitate when he mentioned the recently signed guard, Trey Burke. "Trey Burke played amazing today," Simmons said on Tuesday. "He was killing it; he really stepped in."
Back in 2013, Burke was a star coming out of Michigan. As the ninth overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Burke looked to take over the scene in Utah with the Jazz. Although his start looked promising after dealing with injury issues early on, Burke didn't pan out the way the Jazz thought he would during his first three seasons.
Therefore, they traded him away to Washington. Since then, Burke slowly began to regress and went from a highly-touted star to an often traded role player. After short stints with the Washington Wizards, New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks, and even a G-League affiliate team in Westchester, Burke was in search of a new opportunity this summer.
Late in July, the Philadelphia 76ers came calling. What better place to land for Burke, who tries to mirror his game from one of the franchise's most notable superstars, Allen Iverson. While Burke isn't expected to be Iverson in Philly, he can use that dog mentality that No. Three possessed in order to help himself win over a backup job over Raul Neto.
So far, it sounds like whatever Burke's doing is working -- because his peers have noticed his hard work and dedication to the game through the first two practices. "I'm just competing," Burke said on Wednesday after the second practice. "Just competing at a high level and trying to focus on defense more."
Brett Brown took notice to Trey Burke's game this week as he mentioned he "was very good," and also "dynamic with the ball." Another notable veteran, Al Horford also singled Burke out this week saying "Burke came in with a lot of energy. He was scoring the ball at will and was being very active."
Two good days isn't enough for Burke to make the team. However, considering that he's been a hot commodity at the Sixers' practice facility thus far, it's beginning to feel like Philly could get some substantial value out of Burke off the bench, as he's on a two million dollar deal, with only half of it guaranteed right now.