Philadelphia 76ers: The backup point guard situation needs improvement

Trey Burke | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Trey Burke | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers’ backup point guard rotation is a potential weakness.

With the departure of backup point guard and fan favorite T.J. McConnell, the Philadelphia 76ers are looking at some new options at the position. Elton Brand brought in Raul Neto and Trey Burke to compete for the backup one spot. Stuart London compared the two options, but is either a viable option for Philadelphia?

Well, not necessarily. The Sixers have struggled to trot out a decent backup point guard for years. While T.J. had that signature playoff game in Boston, he was unplayable during last season’s playoff run, logging a total of 75 minutes in nine games played and was DNP for three games in the crucial Toronto series.

While Philadelphia has a top-five point guard in Ben Simmons (as ranked by Christopher Kline), its current backup point guards have a combined 2018-19 win share of 3.0.

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Boston’s Marcus Smart alone had a 5.3 WS, the Celtics, a team that certainly has finals ambitions, also drafted a highly-touted prospect at point guard in Carsen Edwards. The Raptors have Fred Van Vleet, who substantially contributed in Toronto’s championship run last year, averaging 24.7 minutes and eight points per game while shooting 38.8 percent from three.

Over their career, Raul Neto played in 20 playoff games and averaged 2.3 points per game while Trey Burke made three appearances in the postseason without scoring a single point. Neto and Burke are unplayable in the playoffs.

In comparison, the Clippers, after adding Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, certainly have similar championship aspirations as the Sixers. Lou Williams, LA’s backup point guard and the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, has 58 career playoff appearances and averaged 12.2 points with 25.2 minutes per game. Sure, Burke might look good in the regular season, chucking some shots and scoring some meaningless buckets, and Neto can pass the ball a little, but can Philadelphia count on them come playoff time? The Sixers are past caring about regular season stats — the Sixers want to win a championship right now.

Yes, it’s not even October yet, but the 76ers need to think about what their backup point guard situation is going to be come May and, if everything goes well, June. T.J. McConnell couldn’t share the floor with Ben Simmons, as neither of them was a prolific three-point shooter. Philadelphia had to use Jimmy Butler as their point guard. Butler is gone. Ben Simmons can’t handle the ball 48 minutes a game in the playoffs, nobody can. Philadelphia needs a playable backup point guard who can give the Sixers at least 15 minutes a game and not get chased off the court.

Is Neto or Burke going to step up and ultimately contribute to the Sixers’ playoff run? It’s too early to tell (obviously), but the signs are not in their favor. Elton Brand should at least explore some other options — like someone from the buyout market or a trade for an established veteran on a tanking team (Jeff Teague, maybe?).

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The bottom line is, the Sixers have more work to do at the backup point guard position and I expect to see some action from Elton Brand.