With Shake Milton hurt, is it finally Trey Burke’s time?

NBA: Preseason-Detroit Pistons at Philadelphia 76ers
Oct 15, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Derrick Rose (25) dribbles against Philadelphia 76ers guard Trey Burke (23) during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

During Monday’s gritty win over the Atlanta Hawks, Shake Milton went down with a knee injury. While trying to attempt posting up, Milton hyperextended his left knee, resulting in a bone bruise and a mild knee sprain.

Milton has already been ruled out for the remainder of the Western road trip. This trip will last through their game at Portland on November 8th. Upon their arrival, Milton is expected to be reevaluated.

The Trey Burke Experiment: Story of the Season so far

Trey Burke was a somewhat later offseason acquisition for the 76ers. Signing a one-year, $2,028,594 ($810,000 guaranteed) contract with the team on July 30th, Burke was in line to compete for the point guard spot on the second unit.

During the preseason, Burke made a strong first impression on team leaders. Coach Brett Brown was quoted saying, “I thought Trey was really good today. Trey has got that dynamic, dance-with-the-ball type game. I thought he was very good today.

Praise stayed high even while talking to the team’s starting point guard. Ben Simmons, in reference to the first team practice, mentioned, “Trey Burke played amazing today, he was killing.”

During this preseason, Burke appeared in five games. During these games, he averaged 12.4 minutes, where he collected an average of 5.6 points, 2.2 assists, and 1.6 rebounds. Not too bad of a preseason for the bench player.

After making the team, Burke has not played a single minute during the regular season. Coach Brown has tampered with many lineup combinations and even has experimented with Josh Richardson controlling the ball.

Why has he not included Trey Burke yet? Will we see a change with Milton’s injury?

The Impact of Milton’s Absence on Burke

Due to the lack of shooting so far from beyond the arc, Coach Brett Brown would like to get Josh Richardson more minutes at the wing. With this, that leaves Raul Neto or Trey Burke getting more minutes in off the bench.

Over the course of their careers so far, Burke averages double the amount of points and rebounds, along with two more assists compared to Neto. Despite being known as a ball-hog, Burke actually has been slightly more productive in the frontcourt compared to Neto.

Burke’s defense is troublesome. He has never used defense as his strength throughout his career. His 112 defensive rating for a bench player is on the higher side. However, with the strength of this team being defense, it’s unclear why he has not touched the court.

Burke has gained a strong relationship with Sixers’ all-time great Allen Iverson. The Sixers scoring back-up grew up a huge Iverson fan. Iverson then told Burke that he needs to “play his heart out,” in order to succeed in Philly. This includes on the defensive side of the ball. “He (coach Brown) challenged me from day one. When I decided to sign here, he challenged me on the defensive end,” Burke revealed.

Maybe Burke has not yet fully lived up to the challenge coach Brown presented to him. Maybe, Burke is simply just not the best fit for the Sixers’ designed offense.

Whatever the case may be, it is possible that Burke gains some minutes during this upcoming road trip. Whether its five minutes or fifteen, expect the #TreyBurkeHive to be full swing until at least November 8th.

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports