Here we continue to look at the top 2013 NBA Draft prospects. Today we examine:
Trey Burke, PG, Michigan 6’0”, 190 lbs
2012-13 Collegiate Stat line: (all stats courtesy of ESPN.com)
18.8 points, 47% field goals, 38% 3-point field goals, 80% free throws, 6.7 assists, 1.6 steals
A National Player of the Year candidate out of Michigan, Trey Burke can do just about everything. In the last two seasons, the sophomore point guard has taken the Wolverines and brought them back into the top tier of college basketball. He has put his team and himself into the national spotlight. Burke will certainly be a top selection in the 2013 NBA Draft should he decide to come out of school.
At 6’0” Burke uses his small stature to sneak up on opponents on the defensive end. He possesses quick hands and an eye for detail when guarding the ball handler. If the man with the ball decides to turn his back on Burke, nine times out of 10 Burke will pick his pocket and get out in transition. He will pick apart an offense’s game plan with his hand speed.
Burke is also a great ball handler himself, an absolute must for a point guard trying to make it in the NBA. He has the sense on offense to find open teammates for easy baskets or open jumpers, highlighted by his average of nearly seven assists per game this season.
Efficient shooting is another plus for Burke. Despite his small size, he can stop, pop and pull-up from anywhere on the court and you’re surprised when it doesn’t drop. A fluid shooting motion and great leaping ability to rise up over defenders for his shot allows Burke to create separation on his shots. He has a feel for the game which allows him to determine whether to shoot the ball or dish it to teammates. Whatever he decides to do is usually the correct answer.
Due to his small size, a taller defender has the ability to shut him down on the offensive end and rattle him. For example, in Michigan’s second round game against South Dakota State in the 2013 NCAA tournament, Burke was guarded for almost the entire game by Nate Wolters, who stands 6’4”. Wolters was able to keep Burke along the perimeter and force him into bad shots. Burke would finish the game with a season-low six points on 2-for-12 shooting. Burke’s size can be a blessing and a curse. It all depends on the matchup for him in a particular game.
All of Burke’s weaknesses can be attributed to his size. He can get pushed around by bigger opponents, get shut down offensively and fail to convert defensively. It’s something that isn’t going to break him in the NBA, but it is something he’ll have to work around. A 6’0” point guard is nothing new at the professional level. It’s just a matter overcoming his size, which shouldn’t be too much of a problem for Burke.
Dec. 29 vs. Central Michigan (W 88-73) 22 points, 9-for-12 field goals, 4-for-7 3-point field goals, 11 assists
The opponent may not seem like much, but this game against Central Michigan showed just how efficient Burke can be. Only missing three shots all game, all of which came from beyond the arc, is always a good thing. It shows consistency and confidence in your stroke. Having 11 assists is just Burke showing off.
March 21 vs. South Dakota State (Second round of NCAA tournament W 71-56) six points, 2-for-12 field goals, 0-for-5 3-point field goals, seven assists
It might sound crazy, but this was the worst game of Burke’s season and maybe of his career. Not only did Wolters rattle Burke, but made him uncomfortable shooting the ball while everyone else for Michigan couldn’t seem to miss. He did have seven assists in the game, but his shooting woes can’t be denied here. It’s a small sampling, but this one game shows that Burke can be stopped by bigger defenders.
Potential Landing Spots:
Trey Burke is currently being projected a a late lottery selection for the 2013 NBA Draft. This could change if Michigan continues to roll through the NCAA tournament as they have in the first two games. A great showing for Burke and Co. to a potential Final Four appearance could easily elevate Burke into an early first-round selection in June.
Teams That Make Sense:
Utah Jazz: Much like Isaiah Canaan, Utah needs to find a point guard to lead the Jazz into the future. He’s got great leadership qualities and could mold well with the current roster Utah has assembled. Burke makes more sense than Canaan does because of his overall point-guard abilities. Canaan is more of a scorer while Burke is an overall threat.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Eric Maynor has been traded away and Derek Fisher is not going to be around forever so the Thunder are going to need a backup point guard. Burke would be more than happy to sit behind stars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant and learn while being part of a winning team. Burke could eventually mold into a starter for the Thunder or be used as trade bait.
It will be extremely hard to pass up on Trey Burke considering his talents and pedigree. He has the ability to lead any team he winds up on, it just all depends on which team will use him as a starter right away. He has future NBA All-Star written all over him. Now it’s all about watching his draft stock continue to climb throughout the rest of the NCAA tournament.