Philly is his kind of city

Burke feels he’s ‘built for’ en­vi­ron­ment that awaits him with 76ers

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By Tom Moore Tom Moore is a colum­nist for the Bucks County Courier Times: He can be reached at: [email protected]­er­times.com; @TomMoorePh­illy.

PHILADEL­PHIA —Trey Burke be­lieves he can be a dif­fer­ence-maker off the bench for the 76ers.

A nat­u­ral point guard with a scorer’s men­tal­ity, Burke’s goal is to back up starter Ben Sim­mons at the point while also earn­ing some min­utes with the first unit be­cause he can play off the ball too.

“Through­out stretches of the game, [Sim­mons and I] can play to­gether and I can be out there with the starters at times,” said Burke in a con­fer­ence call Tues­day. “That’s just the com­peti­tor in Trey Burke.”

The backup point guard spot fig­ures to come down to Burke and fel­low vet­eran Raul Neto, with the younger Shake Mil­ton also in the mix. Burke might have the inside track go­ing into the mid-Septem­ber start of train­ing camp.

Signed July 30 to a vet­er­ans’ min­i­mum con­tract worth $2 mil­lion as the last likely mem­ber of the 15-man ros­ter, Burke makes good de­ci­sions with the ball, as ev­i­denced by his 3.24 as­sist-to-turnover ra­tio in 58 games with the Knicks and Mav­er­icks last sea­son. A ra­tio of 2.5 is con­sid­ered good.

“I take it very se­ri­ously,” Burke said. “As a point guard, valuing the ball is some­thing I take se­ri­ous. I try to keep un­der con­trol ev­ery time I’m on the court.”

The 6-foot-1, 165-pound Burke can be a bit streaky with his jumper, which is why his role could change from night to night de­pend­ing how he’s shoot­ing. While he has av­er­aged at least 10 points per game in five of his six sea­sons, he’s a 40.8% ca­reer shooter who has hit 34% of his 3-point­ers. Last year, those num­bers in­creased to 46.3 and 35.6%, re­spec­tively.

Burke is good in tran­si­tion and is ca­pa­ble of cre­at­ing his own shot, which is why he likes to op­er­ate in one-on-one sit­u­a­tions. He isn’t afraid to take the game-win­ning shot, which he has done nu­mer­ous times — led by a base­line jumper to give the Jazz a vic­tory over the Knicks at Madi­son Square Garden — and doesn’t lack con­fi­dence.

“I’m a com­peti­tor at heart, an of­fen­sive threat,” Burke said. “Ev­ery time I get a chance to show my skill set, I think I thrive. I plan on do­ing that in Philadel­phia.”

That would be fine with Sixers gen­eral man­ager Elton Brand and head coach Brett Brown.

“Trey’s ex­pe­ri­ence as a ball­han­dler, matched with his scor­ing abil­ity, makes him a good fit for our ros­ter,” Brand said.

One area Burke, who will wear No. 23 with Philly, is look­ing to up­grade is on de­fense, which is good be­cause Brown re­ally em­pha­sizes that end of the floor. Burke said he’s been watch­ing plenty of tape in an ef­fort to make that hap­pen.

With the Sixers be­ing his third team in the span of a year, he’d also like to find an NBA home. Burke would love if that ends up be­ing in Philadel­phia.

“Philly be­ing a team with high ex­pec­ta­tions this up­com­ing year, hav­ing ex­pe­ri­enced the play­offs the last two years, played a big part [in com­ing here],” Burke said. “Philadel­phia be­ing a sports city. [With me] hav­ing played in New York, with the fans that they have, I feel like I was built for a Philly-type of city.

“I think we have the pieces to fight for a cham­pi­onship. My skill set will be big in Philadel­phia and in help­ing us [win].”

Burke, a lottery pick out of Michi­gan in 2013, counted Hall of Famer Allen Iver­son as a role model and men­tor he met early in his ca­reer when he played for the Jazz. Join­ing a club on which Iver­son thrived is another ben­e­fit of sign­ing here.

“It’s dope, man,” Burke said. “AI played a big role in my love for the game of basketball. I’m sure when I get to see him, he’ll have some ad­vice for me. He al­ways has good ad­vice.

“I’m just ready to get to work.”

The Sixers could use the help.

TONY GUTIERREZ/AP

Point guard Trey Burke has av­er­aged at least 10 points per game in five of his six sea­sons in the NBA.

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