With the 2014 NBA Draft happening on Thursday, now is a good time to look back at the Utah Jazz first-round pick from last year, Trey Burke. The Minnesota Timberwolves took Burke with the ninth overall pick in the draft. Then the Jazz made a trade for Burke by giving up the 14th and 21st picks.
The Jazz have been looking for a point guard since trading away Deron Williams in 2011.
Burke was coming off of a huge sophomore season at the University of Michigan. The Wolverines were able to make it all the way to the NCAA tournament final, losing narrowly to the University of Louisville. Burke played well, scoring 24 points in the championship game, leading all scorers. During the college season Burke played great, averaging 18.6 points per game, and 6.7 assists, earning consensus college player of the year honors.
During the third preseason game Burke broke his right index finger, and had surgery to repair the fracture on Oct. 15. Burke was expected to start right away for the very young Jazz team, and with this injury he was expected to miss up to six weeks. The Jazz missed Burke badly as they ended up losing 11 of their first 12 games. After only four weeks Burke was able make it back to the team, which was sooner than expected.
On Nov. 20 at the New Orleans Pelicans, Burke was able to make his NBA debut, playing 12 minutes and scoring 11 points. The Jazz moved up his minutes little by little until he played 34 minutes against the Chicago Bulls and helped the Jazz win their second game of the season.
During the month of December, Burke averaged 32.7 minutes and just less than 15 points per game . He did not shoot the ball so well, as he shot 41 percent from the field and 37 percent from 3. He was able to average 5.9 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game, helping the Jazz post a 7-9 record.
The next couple of months Burke slowed down, as did his numbers, as he averaged only 11.4 points while shooting 35 percent from the field. He still was able to continue to see the floor well by averaging 5.8 assists per game during the two months. Even though the Jazz lost most of the games during that time, they did look like a better team from the beginning of the season.
Towards the end of the season Burke did play better when he averaged 15.6 points per game for the month of March, still not shooting great at 40 percent from the field. At the end of the season he was named to the All-Rookie first team, and seemed to progress throughout the year giving Jazz fans hope for the future.
The Grade and The Future
The Jazz have been in the market for a point guard for some time, Burke played the part as well as expected for a rookie on a bad team. He began the season on the bench injured, only end the season with a near triple double in the last game.
Does Burke have room to grow? Of course he does, especially in the shooting category, as he shot 38 percent from the field and 33 percent from 3 for the season. However, he showed he can pass the ball well and played hard each and every night. Jazz fans should be excited to see what Burke does with a new coach and another year under this belt.
For the season I believe he earned a solid B for his grade, he did the best he could with what was giving to him, but there is always room for improvement.