Trey Burke

Sixers will waive point guard Trey Burke

Sixers will waive point guard Trey Burke

Fan favorite point guard Trey Burke's stay in Philadelphia is over.

The team will waive the 27-year-old Burke, sources confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. The Inquirer's Keith Pompey first reported the news.

After acquiring Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III from the Warriors early Thursday morning, the Sixers needed to open up two roster spots. They made room for the other by trading James Ennis to the Orlando Magic in exchange for a second-round draft pick (see story).

Burke, signed to a partially guaranteed veteran minimum contract this summer, only played in 25 regular-season games as a Sixer. He was in a competition for backup point guard minutes with Raul Neto for much of the season, but Brett Brown had preferred Neto over the last few weeks. Neither player seemed likely to feature in the team's playoff rotation. 

An Allen Iverson fan growing up, Burke was used on occasion by Brown in "Iverson" packages as a small, attacking shooting guard. He was one of the Sixers' few legitimate shot creators, though the team has improved significantly in that department through the addition of Burks.

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Actual NBA players hilariously voted for these 6 Sixers to make All-Star Game — which is a problem

Actual NBA players hilariously voted for these 6 Sixers to make All-Star Game — which is a problem

The NBA released the All-Star Game voting results on Thursday and as expected, some of the results are quite curious.

The voting process currently takes into account voting by the fans, players, and media, with the fan vote being counted as double. There are clearly flaws to this method.

Fan favorites like Tacko Fall can garner close to a million votes while his play on the court clearly doesn't reflect any All-Star bona fides. But there are some checks to a fan-only system. Player and media votes count for a significant portion of the voting. But there are flaws to that portion of the voting as well.

Some players clearly don't take the voting process very seriously.

Just look at some of the Sixers' bench players who received votes from fellow NBA players — to be an All-Star!

Marial Shayok - 1 player vote
Shake Milton - 1 player vote
Trey  Burke - 1 player vote
Matisse Thybulle - 1 player vote
Furkan Korkmaz - 1 player vote
Norvel Pelle - 1 player vote

Raul Neto, sadly, did not get any love from his fellow NBA players, nor did Mike Scott. Then there are the starters who received significant player votes: Tobias Harris (19), Al Horford (16), Josh Richardson (13). Those make some sense.

Joel Embiid was voted a starter by receiving a hefty portion of all three segments of the voting audience. The only other Sixer with a legit chance to make the team as a reserve appears to be Ben Simmons.

Simmons received the third most votes among guards in the East from the media, fourth most from the players, but a curious eighth most by the fans. More fans voted for Jaylen Brown than Simmons. OK, sure.

You can see a list of all players who received votes here. The reserves for the 2020 All-Star squad will be announces on Thursday night on TNT. The reserves are chosen by head coaches.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say the coaches around the league aren't going to give Pelle the nod for all of those sweet blocks.



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Now what? Here's the Sixers' plan without injured Joel Embiid

Now what? Here's the Sixers' plan without injured Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid has a torn radial collateral ligament of the fourth metacarpal on his left hand, will have surgery Friday and will be re-evaluated in 1-2 weeks (see story).

That news obviously alters life considerably for the Sixers. Heading into Thursday night’s game vs. the Boston Celtics, the team was 3-4 this season without Embiid.

How will head coach Brett Brown adjust his schemes and rotations with Embiid sidelined? 

Here’s what we learned Thursday:

No-brainer changes

A reporter asked Brown whether the Sixers would look to play faster in Embiid’s absence. 

“What would you do?” Brown asked. “We’re going to walk it up and just try to post Trey [Burke].”

The Sixers’ 99.89 pace is currently 17th in the NBA, but expect that number to rise over the next several games.

Another clear shift for Brown will be using Al Horford as his starting center. Thursday night, Mike Scott will start at power forward.

Horford, after signing a four-year deal this summer, has averaged 12.3 points on 45.3 percent shooting, 6.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists. 

While Brown had recently emphasized the need for Horford, Josh Richardson and Tobias Harris to shoot more threes, Horford’s role will now shift.

Just trying to recognize Al for what his strengths are,” Brown said. “Now, all of a sudden, you have to recalibrate a little bit and find a way to get excited to coach the team that we have. All of a sudden, we’re different. We’re just different. I look at this as an opportunity. Nobody’s crying. This is not a woe is me moment — not for me at all, and not for my players. We will take what we have, and what we have, I love. We’re just different than we used to be.

"And so to your point, you now have Al Horford — what’s the gym look like offensively and defensively? Again, we can all guess what it should look like. We’re very lucky to have him, first. And we’re really lucky to have him when things like this happen to Joel.

Brown said Horford will now be more of a “featured guy” and have greater involvement in pick-and-rolls. 

‘Putting a blowtorch’ on defensive principles 

Though Horford is a smart defender and generally capable against the pick-and-roll, Embiid is elite defensively.

Lineups with Embiid on the floor have a defensive rating 8.5 points better than lineups with him off the court.

While the Sixers typically prefer to drop Embiid on pick-and-rolls, it sounds like their coverages might vary more with Horford at center. 

“I’m putting a blowtorch, a bullet — many bullets — into what we used to do," Brown said. "Really. It doesn’t fit. And so shame on me to try to make it fit. We don’t have Joel Embiid. And so when I say blowtorch and bullet, I mean it. It doesn’t mean we have to completely pivot out to wild stuff that could be reckless — I don’t think so. I think it’s just sort of taking the house we’ve lived in and moving the furniture around a little bit. 

“That’s what I intend to do. To think we’re going to replicate what we used to do with Joel now with Al so that we make the perimeter people’s world more seamless and comfortable, it can’t happen. There are adjustments now as a team we have to make, as I believe we should.”

The backup center competition

The backup center picture is less clear — Brown said there is no “definitive answer,” though Kyle O’Quinn and two-way player Norvel Pelle are two contenders.

“It is,” he said. “And you look out on the floor and you’re going to see Jonah Bolden come into the team. There are things maybe we can do with other players. I do think that it’s still there … it’s still a competition.” 

Brown sees a lot to like in both Pelle and O’Quinn. He raved about O’Quinn’s versatile skill set and called him “like a lumberjack, a street fighter.” He said Pelle is “kind of built out of that Nerlens [Noel], [Clint] Capela type of rim protector, flyer mode.”

With Pelle, it’s worth mentioning that he’s nearing the maximum of 45 days he can spend with the Sixers as a two-way player.

Brown also revealed another notable tweak with his bench: He said he’ll be less inclined to play Burke in lineups alongside Simmons. 



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