Alec Burks made a strong case for an increased role during the Sixers‘ three scrimmages, writes Derek Bodner of The Athletic. Burks continued his impressive play Tuesday, posting 15 points and seven assists in a loss to the Mavericks.
Burks averaged just 20.2 minutes per night in 11 games after being acquired from the Warriors at the trade deadline. Bodner notes that Burks’ ability to handle the ball gives the Sixers more flexibility in how they use Ben Simmons.
“I think that what we’re seeing is he’s got an innate gift to score. He can create his shots all by himself,” coach Brett Brown said after Tuesday’s game. “I didn’t play Ben in the second half. (Burks) had to assume a lot on that point guard responsibility, given that I didn’t really want to extend Shake’s (Milton) minutes. I thought he did that well and we learned a bunch of things from the minutes that he played.”
There’s more Sixers news to pass along:
- Joel Embiid, who is dealing with tightness in his right calf, sat out his second straight scrimmage, Bodner adds in the same piece, but Brown expects the star center to be ready Saturday when the Sixers play their first reseeding game. “I am always sort of receiving news from our medical staff,” Brown said, “but that is my expectation.” Glenn Robinson III, who has a left hip pointer, and Raul Neto, who is experiencing discomfort in his lower back, were also held out of the scrimmage.
- Simmons’ switch to power forward has been a hot topic of discussion in Orlando, but he insists he’ll play the same way regardless of position, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. The move was made to keep Milton in the starting lineup, while shifting veteran big man Al Horford to a reserve role. “I haven’t really been looking at the position,” Simmons said. “When I’m put in different situations, I’m able to succeed. These past two (scrimmages), I’ve been doing well. I can always do better. There’s a lot I need to work on. Overall, I’m getting that flow back and I’m feeling really good.”
- Bodner and Rich Hofman of The Athletic examine the new starting lineup and assess the Sixers’ chances of making a long playoff run in Orlando.