The Philadelphia 76ers decided to make a few upgrades to their roster prior to the conclusion of the Feb. 6 trade deadline. In exchange for three second-round picks, the Sixers acquired Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III from the Golden State Warriors.
There was a clear need for the Sixers to make upgrades to their bench unit. Using second-round picks to land two solid veterans on expiring deals makes plenty of sense to address that need. Whether one of them starts and a pre-existing player moves to the bench or both acquisitions play with the second unit, a boost should be provided.
Burks will provide an ability to score off the dribble in pick-and-roll situations and handoffs while being serviceable across the board in other areas. As for Robinson III, he is a reliable catch-and-shoot threat that thrives at cutting, running the floor in transition. In addition, Robinson III can defend multiple positions and has displayed an improved ability to attack off the dribble.
Will the Sixers go small?
The extent of their impacts provided by Burks and Robinson III will depend on the roles that head coach Brett Brown has planned for them. The best course of action seems to be to eventually field a starting lineup of Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson (when healthy), Glenn Robinson III, Tobias Harris, and Joel Embiid. Having a smaller and quicker starting lineup by moving Al Horford to the bench would make the most sense.
The Sixers made headlines when they decided to sign Horford to pair with Embiid in the frontcourt. There are real limitations to Philadelphia’s offense when the two share the floor. For reference, they have logged 433 minutes together and have produced a 100.9 offensive rating. That ranks 589th among the 624 two-man combinations with at least 400 minutes. Making a change seems necessary at this point.
Having Burks provide a boost in the scoring department for the Sixers’ bench should help noticeably. There isn’t a player in that unit that has the level of versatility as a scorer quite like Burks has displayed during his time with the Warriors. Having a player that can shoulder more of the initiation load could help the complementary players maximize their impact.
Giving Robinson III some time to get acclimated with the Sixers’ half-court offensive system and his new set of teammates would be advantageous prior to making this type of lineup change. There would still be no shortage of opportunities for Philadelphia to build on-court chemistry with their low usage ‘3-and-D’ wing inserted before the playoffs.
While it’s unclear if Burks or Robinson III will return to the Sixers after this season, they should provide the team with a needed impact for a playoff run.