Logically, Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III were likely candidates to be traded once the Golden State Warriors’ season started to spiral downwards. But, according to NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors Insider Monte Poole, their teammates didn’t take the wing duo’s departure from Golden State in stride.
Poole provided insight to NBC Sports Philadelphia after the Sixers traded early Thursday morning for Burks and Robinson in exchange for three second-round picks.
“They’re both high-character players, high-character men — they’re low-maintenance,” Poole said. “Seeing them go wasn’t popular with the players. There was a sense of sadness.”
It seemed highly probable that Burks and Robinson would be dealt because both players are on one-year, veteran minimum deals. The 12-40 Warriors had more to gain by flipping the two for assets than by holding on to them.
“You saw this coming,” Poole said, “but some of their teammates were absorbing it and I guess it takes a little while for it to sink in. They’ll be missed, because Alec and Glenn were both respected voices in the locker room.”
Burks, nicknamed “Buckets” by his teammates, averaged 16.1 points per game with the Warriors and shot 40.6 percent from the floor, 37.5 percent from three-point range. Robinson assumed the largest role of his career this season, starting 48 games. The 26-year-old is having an excellent shooting year, hitting 40 percent of his threes overall and 40.5 percent of his catch-and-shoot threes.
“Really good scorer, very streaky,” Poole said of Burks. “He can score at all three levels. He is different from Glenn in the sense that he needs the ball to do his best work. Glenn does his best work off the ball — moving, cutting, shooting threes. … They’re both good pieces to have on a contending team.”
The Sixers are 21st in the NBA in three-point percentage and 23rd in long range makes per game, so Burks and Robinson would seem to fill a pressing need.
Defense is not either player’s most attractive quality, though Poole assessed Burks as “average” and Robinson as “above average.” Robinson has learned defense by the side of Draymond Green.
Poole thinks Robinson and Burke won’t have trouble acclimating to the Sixers’ culture, even in the context of players recently voicing frustration about confounding offensive fit and disappointment in their inability to meet expectations thus far.
“They just say what needs to be said. They’re consummate pros in that regard,” Poole said. “These guys are not trouble guys. They’re easy to deal with in every way.”
Robinson, who spent 10 games with the Sixers as a rookie in 2015, is a bit more open and talkative than Burks, according to Poole. We’ll probably hear stories about what he remembers from his father's time as a Sixer. Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson spent the bulk of his career with the Milwaukee Bucks but played in Philadelphia for one healthy season, the 2003-04 campaign.
Sixers GM Elton Brand will hope Robinson is coming into his own as a player.
“I thought Glenn had found his offensive game the last month or so,” Poole said. “That corner three is really deadly.”
As for Burks, should there be any concerns about that aforementioned streakiness? Is he a player who will understand when he doesn’t have the hot hand, defer to his teammates and still manage to make a positive impact?
Poole feels he can be.
“I think Alec is a guy who looks at a situation and adapts to it,” he said. “He’s a smart enough basketball player to know it’s not my night, pass it on. With the Warriors, they’re having a terrible season and he was their primary scorer off the bench. [Head coach] Steve Kerr liked to have him off the bench because he gave them a jolt of offense most times.”
The Sixers are very much a team that could use a jolt.
Tune in to the NBA Trade Deadline Show on the NBC Sports MyTeams app Thursday at 2:30 for analysis of all the important moves around the NBA.