What roles should Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III have during Sixers’ playoff run?


Acquired during the late hours of this year’s trade deadline, many viewed the trade for former Warriors Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III as serious steps in the right direction. Both were shooting over 37% from beyond the arc, and Elton Brand only had to give up a few second-round picks to get it done. Considering the Sixers’ absurd lack of floor spacing, fans were optimistic that the newly acquired duo would make an instant impact.

However, once the two finally made their way to Philadelphia (it took them a really long time to fly over for some reason), it appeared they left some of their shooting skills in Golden State. Robinson III made just six of his first 21 three-point attempts (28.6%), and Burks shot a measly 16/49 from behind the arc himself (32.7%).

The duo was initially acquired to add some legit sharpshooting to a big-heavy Sixers roster. Less than 15 games into their 2020 Sixers’ careers and they were doing more harm than good.

Now obviously the season was cut short during this time. It’s a fair argument to make that the two wing players never got enough time to get fully situated in Philadelphia. Burks also showed some ability to operate as the team’s primary backup ball handler. He put in strong performances against Brooklyn, Sacramento, and the LA Clippers playing in this role.

The 2020 postseason is rapidly approaching, and the partnership of Burks and “GR3” is running out of time to make an impression on Brett Brown. With just three scrimmages and eight regular-season games left before the first round of the playoffs, the two likely need to come out scorching hot if they want to see their playing time increase.

Burks by far looked like the better of the two midseason acquisitions. Like previously mentioned, he provided some key minutes as a bench ball-handler. However, with Ben Simmons and Josh Richardson expected to be healthy, and with Shake Milton in the process of breaking out, the minutes in that department are starting to become scarce. 

Robinson III on the other hand has struggled more as of late, but has a far easier path to playing time in the postseason. Currently competing with the likes of Furkan Korkmaz, Matiss Thybulle, and Mike Scott for backup forward minutes, there’s more room for him to squeeze his way through.

I mentioned in my “Could there be a few surprises in the Sixers’ playoff rotation?” article back in May that I expect Brett Brown and the Sixers to use a “bench by committee” approach to things. When it comes to guys like Scott, Korkmaz, Burks, and GR3, Brown will likely go on a per game basis where he prioritizes playing time for whoever is hot.

I expect the Golden State duo to play a healthy amount in the playoffs, don’t get me wrong. But at this point in time, there’s little to no chance that either receive a typical “sixth man” type role.

While the 76ers no doubt wish that Burks and Robinson III will turn out to be home run hits in the trade market, we can’t ignore the writing on the wall. The two have proven very little as Sixers thus far, and will have to fight an uphill battle to get significant roles in the postseason.

Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports