CLEVELAND — Trevor Booker made his transition to the Sixers look easy in his first 20 minutes with his new team.
The veteran forward was a highlight of the Sixers’ 105-98 loss to the Cavaliers (see observations). He came in off the bench and gave the Sixers just what they expected when they acquired him Thursday from the Nets in exchange for Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas.
“What we just saw is an accurate snapshot of what he is,” Brown said. “He’s high energy. He’s got a big motor. There’s a level of maturity and toughness that we need.”
The Sixers were shorthanded in the frontcourt without Joel Embiid, who was not with the team because of his back-to-back restriction. (Embiid will play Sunday in New Orleans.) Amir Johnson and Richaun Holmes were picking up the playing time, but both got in early foul trouble.
Booker was ready to go. He scored 12 points (4 for 6 from the field) and pulled down eight rebounds. Booker found himself at the right place at the right time, being a target for his teammates at the hoop.
“I think just going out there and playing with energy," Booker said, "finding easy baskets like that around the rim, those are things I have to do to get myself going and to help this team out.”
Booker is already forming chemistry with Ben Simmons, which could develop into a backcourt-frontcourt punch. Brown is excited for the younger players to share the court with the eighth-year veteran.
“He’s a beast,” Simmons said. “I love playing with him so far. He’s a hard-working guy, he runs the floor, knows how to play the game, spaces the floor. He’s a good player.”
Booker echoed of Simmons, “He’s a tremendous passer, tremendous overall player. I can tell I’m going to have a lot of fun playing with him.”
Booker barely has had a second to catch his breath since the trade. He was in Mexico City with the Nets when he received the news. Booker estimates he got an hour of sleep Thursday night. He had to take an early morning connecting flight that eventually got him back to Brooklyn and then to Philadelphia for a physical. In a whirlwind of travel, he flew with the team Friday to Cleveland.
Still, he managed to look well rested and equally well prepared in his Sixers debut.
“Trevor can play on any team in the league,” JJ Redick said. “He’s easy to play with. He plays hard, he screens, he knows who he is, he stars in his role on a consistent basis. We’re lucky to have him.”