If you grew up a basketball fan during Allen Iverson’s prime, there’s a good chance you grew to love the six-foot guard out of Georgetown.
And that wasn’t just exclusive to those in the Delaware Valley. Iverson was an icon to many, on and off the court, during his Hall of Fame career.
While Iverson was winning scoring titles and playing in All-Star games, there was a young man by the name of Trey Burke growing up in Columbus, Ohio, who fell in love with the sport of basketball in large part because of the Answer.
All these years later, Burke will now take the floor for the team A.I. was drafted by, he led to an NBA Finals, and the place the 2001 MVP’s NBA career ended.
It’s dope, man,” Burke said in conference call with Philadelphia media Tuesday. “I know everyone knows A.I. has played a big role in just my love for the game of basketball. I met him early on in my career when I was playing in Utah. We developed a relationship then. Being in Philly now, it just came naturally. I’m sure when I get to see him there he’ll have some good advice for me — he always has good advice. I always go back and watch old film of him and how he attacked on offense. A.I. has been a big part of my career and a big part for my love of the game of basketball.
Burke’s career hasn’t exactly followed the same path. The 26-year-old Michigan product hasn’t quite lived up to the billing of being a lottery pick in 2013, but he’s carved a role for himself as a scoring guard in his numerous stops. He has a skill set as a player that can go get his own basket, something that will never be out of style in the NBA.
After playing the last two seasons with the Knicks and Mavericks, Burke is looking forward to getting back on a winning team. He won a state championship in high school, a national championship on the AAU circuit and reached the NCAA Tournament Finals with a star-studded Wolverines team. During his six seasons in the NBA, he’s reached the postseason only once — and played just 20 total minutes in three playoff games for the Wizards in 2017.
Ultimately, that’s how Burke ended up with the Sixers.
[Winning] played a big part in where I wanted to land,” Burke said. “Philly being a team with high expectations this upcoming year, a team that has experience in the playoffs the last two years – that played a big part. I’ve played on a few teams the last four or five years. Philadelphia being a sports city, having the fans that they have, [me] coming from a team like the Knicks, that kind of market, I was built for it — a Philly type of city.
The backup point guard situation isn’t cut and dry. Burke will battle with fellow veteran Raul Neto, who was brought in as a free agent from the Jazz this offseason. Second-year player Shake Milton could also be a dark horse candidate with a strong camp — though Milton’s summer league performance didn’t help his cause.
Burke’s ability to shoot (37.4 percent from three the last three seasons) and score could also play well next to starting point guard Ben Simmons. Burke mentioned his time in Dallas last season where he played with Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic. Doncic isn’t a point guard, but he’s a ball dominant playmaker.
With so much more depth, minutes won’t be easy to come by in Brett Brown’s rotation.
But competition is not something Burke is shying away from.
Yes, if you’re asking if that’s my goal [to be the backup point guard],” Burke said. “I think throughout stretches of the game, [Ben Simmons] and I can play together. I think I can be out there and be with the starting lineup at times. That’s just the competitor in Trey Burke. That’s just who I am as a player and what I bring to Philadelphia. So if you ask me [if I expect to be the backup point guard], yes.
Allen Iverson couldn’t have said it much better.
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