If Mark Turgeon was coaching the summer league team of the Philadelphia 76ers — a team Turgeon worked a season for under Larry Brown early in his career — he might have said "Melo was Melo" on Tuesday night.
Unfortunately for the former Maryland star, his former coach is still in College Park. As it was, after barely playing in his new team's first five summer league games in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas, Trimble finally looked like a reasonable facsimile of his former self.
In 13 minutes of an 88-83 loss to the Boston Celtics — his first playing time since he got in for 10 minutes in one game last week — Trimble finished with 13 points on five of eight shooting, including three of five on 3-pointers. He also had two steals and no turnovers.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Trimble said, "I didn't play as much as I wanted to, but I was happy to be out there. Going into Las Vegas, it's different [than Salt Lake City]. The crowd is here, a lot of the other teams are here, it's just like playing in college basketball. I hadn't played that much, but I was ready for whenever. When he called me to get out there, I was excited. I went out there and just played."
Trimble's reference to his playing time was probably alluding to the end of the game, but this is his new reality in trying to make the jump from college to the NBA. After helping the 76ers take the lead early in the fourth quarter, Trimble was pulled with a little more than five minutes left and the Celtics leading by one. Larry Drew II finished the game at point guard, scoring eight points and adding five assists in a little over 24 minutes.
"I know that's what I'm going to have to go through in my NBA career," said Trimble, who had taken just two shots, making one, and committed two turnovers in his first summer league action last week. "Never know when my number is going to be called. I have to be ready and stay dialed in no matter what the circumstances are."
The opportunity for Trimble to impress his coaches — or coaches from others teams — enough to earn an invitation to training camp should increase with Markelle Fultz, the NBA's first overall pick, unlikely to play the remaining games after spraining an ankle Saturday night. That Trimble didn't play after Fultz got hurt until Tuesday made some wonder whether he, too, was injured.
Assistant coach Lloyd Pierce, who is coaching Philadelphia's summer league team, said that Trimble and second-round pick (No. 50 overall) French forward Mathias Lessort were "our best players tonight." Lessort, who recently joined the team after getting clearance from FIBA, finished with four points, four rebounds, a steal and a block in 13 minutes.
"They're trying to be professional. When your number is called, you step in the game and contribute any way you can," Pierce said. "They did that — Mathias with his energy and Melo with his 3-point shooting."
Trimble entered the NBA draft after his junior season at Maryland but went undrafted. He signed with the Sixers in June.