Trey Burke, one again, made a case for more playing time.
The 76ers’ seldom-used reserve point guard has been mostly productive when called upon this season. Saturday night’s 125-108 home victory over the Wizards was no different.
Burke finished with 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting -- including 2-for-3 on three-pointers -- in 15 minutes, 8 seconds of action. The 27-year-old also finished with 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 turnover while grading out with a plus-14.
“We definitely have a lot of confidence in him,” Tobias Harris said following the game. “Trey’s a great scorer. He came in tonight and was able to hit some key shots for us and help us win today’s game.”
Raul Neto, the Sixers’ other reserve point guard, had the night off. But the game marked Burke’s second consecutive appearance. He was inserted with 1 minute, 11 seconds remaining in the third quarter of Friday’s 117-98 loss to Dallas to help provide a spark against the Mavericks’ zone defense. The shot-creator went on to finish with 7 points on 3-for-5 shooting in 11:49 of action.
However, he didn’t play in five of his team’s previous six games. The minutes he received in the one game during that stretch came last Sunday in mop-up duty in a 20-point loss at Brooklyn.
“Just staying ready; I think that’s the main thing with the role that I’m in," Burke said. “Not knowing how many minutes I’m going to get, I just have to be ready.”
The seventh-year veteran said his job is “to control what I can control.”
Saturday’s matchup marked just his 12th appearance in the Sixers’ 32 games heading into Monday’s contest at Detroit.
He’s averaging 7.3 points in 15.9 minutes while shooting 43.5% on three-pointers. Burke has also been impressive handling the ball with 35 assists compared to 7 turnovers.
The former University of Michigan standout acknowledged that it’s difficult to stay ready when he doesn’t know when he’s playing.
“But sometimes that’s the nature of the business,” Burke said, "and that’s the role that I understand that I’m in right now.
“My job is to stay ready. You don’t know when your number is going to be called and that goes for [players No. ] 1 through 15 [on the roster] outside of the starting five.”
That’s why Burke said he always stays prepared and locked-in on the game plan on both ends of the court.
However, the lack of playing time has been a hot topic and a season-long debate. His father, Alfonso Clarke “Benjie” Burke, stated on Instagram on Dec. 16 a desire to have his son traded due to lack of playing time.
In a statement later that day, Burke said his father’s comments didn’t reflect how he feels.