76ers

Why Glenn Robinson III played and Alec Burks didn't for Sixers vs. Bulls

Why Glenn Robinson III played and Alec Burks didn't for Sixers vs. Bulls

The Sixers’ two most recent additions, Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III, were both active and in uniform Sunday night for the team’s game against the Chicago Bulls. Only one played.

Robinson had a bright start to his second stint as a Sixer, scoring 10 points on 5 of 6 shooting in 12 minutes during the Sixers’ 118-111 win, while Burks did not play.

Head coach Brett Brown had an explanation for why Burks stayed on the bench.

“Just direction, really, from the front office, trying to get things right with [Alec],” he said. “Really nothing. Just trying to give him a little bit of daylight as he comes into the program. Glenn was different, and so I played him.”

Burks and Robinson were able to flesh out the situation in a little more detail.

Me and AB found out on a plane going back to [San Francisco] from New York about the trade,” Robinson said. “I was asleep and they woke me up and told me. So, then we found out we were going to have to travel six more hours. I know he was on a red-eye last night and I got in a little earlier than him. Just glad to be here, ready to basically start tomorrow so I can get in there, learn the plays and get some shots up. I haven’t even been to the new practice facility yet, so I’m excited to do that, too — because we were at PCOM when I was [last] here. Big difference, I heard. 

Robinson’s brief first stop in Philadelphia was in 2015, when he played 10 games under Brown as a rookie. He played the final game of that season, an 18-win campaign for the Sixers, alongside Process luminaries like JaKarr Sampson, Henry Sims, Jerami Grant and Robert Covington.

The most obvious of the few similarities between that situation and this one is Robinson was called into duty with minimal time to adjust. He did well under those circumstances Sunday, making intelligent cuts off the ball and seeming as comfortable as a player yet to practice with his new team can be. 

“The players have definitely gotten better [compared to 2015], yeah,” he said. “It’s always weird — a new day at a job, that first step, it’s always different. I felt the energy in the building, it’s great to be back. ... Everyone welcomed me with open arms and is glad that I’m back here in Philly. I really feel like I can help this team. Just glad to be wanted. I think that’s the main thing as a player is coming into different situations, whether it’s a trade or you get picked up in free agency, being wanted is a good feeling. 

“For Brett to FaceTime almost immediately after finding out the news, I think that says a lot about his character, my character and what they want here.”

Neither Robinson nor Burks have had a chance to speak with Brown about their roles or expectations, though they expect to have greater clarity soon. For Robinson, Sunday was mostly about stepping into a new environment — albeit in a slightly familiar arena, with a slightly familiar face as his coach — and fitting in. Ideally, Robinson’s off-ball movement, three-point shooting (40 percent this season) and defensive versatility will allow him to have a smooth adjustment.

For Burks, it sounds like Sunday was just about coming to terms with his new job.

“It’s been all over the place,” he said. “That’s why I didn’t play tonight, because I was on a red-eye last night and I got in real early, so we came to an agreement that I didn’t have to play tonight. Just with the traveling, I didn’t want anything to happen. It’s been good and bad, you know.”

He was having the most productive season of his career in Golden State, averaging 16.1 points per game and scoring 20 or more on 13 occasions. 

Brown sees Burks’ skill at creating offense by himself as a vital one.

“I’m going to be dramatic, but I believe it — this is our sport,” he said before the game. "You have to play off a live ball. … You need somebody that can break down a defense, that can get to the paint — hopefully out of an isolation, out of a live ball. And he can do that. And so I felt that when we didn’t have [Josh Richardson]. You felt that. 

“If we’re all honest, with the identifiable skill sets of our guys, it’s not like give it to so-and-so and they’re going to break somebody down, get into the paint and find people — that’s not it. We have very good players with high levels of skills, but that thing you’re talking about is needed. You really need it, and you especially need it when you play late in the season.”

We’ll have to wait to see that ability in action, and to form a clearer picture of how the Sixers will use it. Getting some sleep, practicing and starting to settle into a city across the country from his previous gig will be the first steps. 



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Ever wonder why Allen Iverson is called 'The Answer'?

Ever wonder why Allen Iverson is called 'The Answer'?

Some might have called him “Bubba Chuck.” Others simply “A.I.”

But the nickname that stands out above all others when talking about Allen Iverson is “The Answer.”

Ever wonder how Iverson got the nickname? The origins are still a bit unclear.

We all know Iverson for his signature cornrows and tattoos, but when Iverson arrived in Philadelphia, he had one tattoo: A bulldog with “The Answer” written above it. Iverson’s original sneaker with Reebok was called “The Question.” Each subsequent sneaker was called “The Answer.”

In 2003, Iverson was actually sued over the use of the nickname by Jamil Blackmon, a family friend from Virginia. Blackmon claimed that he gave Iverson the nickname in 1994 and the two had reached an agreement on Blackmon’s pay out for any money the nickname netted Iverson.

Putting together the pieces, the answer may be as simple as Iverson being “The Answer” to the Sixers’ and NBA’s problems.

For more on Iverson’s nickname and why play-by-play announcer Marc Zumoff never called him it, check out the video above.

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2020 NBA mock draft: Trading up for Kira Lewis Jr. in this Sixers-only mock draft

2020 NBA mock draft: Trading up for Kira Lewis Jr. in this Sixers-only mock draft

It looks like we’ll be waiting a while for the NBA draft, which was originally scheduled for June 25. The New York Times' Marc Stein reported that some teams now expect the draft to be held in September. For the time being, we’ll continue to consider possibilities for the Sixers, who would have picks No. 22, 34, 36, 49 and 59.

In this Sixers-only mock draft, the team moves up in the first round to take a point guard and selects a combo guard early in the second. 

16. TRADE — Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama 

We have the Sixers trading No. 22 and 34 to the Timberwolves for No. 16. With Lewis, it feels obligatory to list his sophomore averages: 18.5 points, 5.2 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals. Those per game stats are slightly inflated because he played 37.6 minutes a night, but they’re impressive nonetheless.

The Sixers might think about Lewis as a trade-up option primarily because of his ability as a shot creator. While he sometimes played a loose style at Alabama, turning it over 3.5 times per contest last season, he has a natural talent for sizing up a defender and blowing past him. He is extremely fast, which makes him a threat in the open court and also means he doesn’t need to gain a tremendous edge on his man with a dribble move to beat him — a sliver of space is often enough. 

When he gets into the paint, however, Lewis isn’t the most reliable finisher. At 6-foot-3, 165 pounds, his size makes life more difficult for him around the rim. His weight is likely a larger concern defensively, although Lewis is capable of working over ball screens — something he’d be asked to do often in the Sixers’ scheme — and his speed is an asset when he’s trailing the play or jolting into a passing lane.

Lewis’ shooting numbers are positive, too — 36.6 percent from three-point range and 80.2 percent from the foul line — though he has a low release point he might have to tweak for the NBA. He just turned 19 years old in April and will need to add muscle, but with Lewis’ college production, it’s not as if the Sixers would be banking purely on potential.

36. (via New York) — Jared Butler, G, Baylor 

Butler’s game matches the Sixers’ needs well. He’s an advanced ball handler, full of behind-the-back, between-the-legs and spin moves, and confident in the pick-and-roll. While he’d be undersized for an NBA shooting guard at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, Butler is dangerous both on and off the ball. He hit 38.1 percent of his three-point attempts this season on 6.7 attempts per game. 

In the NBA, it’ll be interesting to see if Butler is able to guard multiple positions effectively. He has a sturdy build, is a good lateral mover and had 2.2 steals per 40 minutes for a Baylor team that finished 26-4, all of which is encouraging. 

TRADE — No. 49 for Memphis’ 2021-second round pick and cash considerations 

The Sixers have been very willing to sell second-round picks in recent years, and with the team projected to be in the luxury tax, it would not be remotely shocking if they did it again. In this deal, they’re at least getting back a future pick in addition to the cash. 

59. (via Lakers) — Killian Tillie, C, Gonzaga 

Tillie endured a slew of injuries at Gonzaga, which is one reason he might be available this late in the draft. The 6-foot-10 Frenchman has a lot of skill for his size and shot 44.4 percent from three-point range in college. He has real stretch four/stretch five potential in the NBA, especially with his ability as a passer. 

For the Sixers, his diverse skill set would have to be intriguing here. They don’t have any young backup big men on the roster, and Tillie has the tools to be a productive rotation player — if he stays healthy. That caveat would be worth accepting with the 59th pick. 

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