Before Trey Burke was drafted, experts had a few comparisons lined up: Kemba Walker, Kyle Lowry, Chris Paul, and Ty Lawson. Now that Trey’s got one season under his belt, I’m starting to wonder if another comparison might be a bit closer to the mark: Mo Williams. In discussing this comparison with a fellow Jazz fan this last week, he suggested a few other names that he hopes are closer to Burke’s ceiling: Mario Chalmers, Tony Parker, and Derek Fisher. So I was curious and wanted to figure out if the numbers from any of their rookie years would tell us anything, or if improvements from year 1 to year 2 for each of those players might help us predict some of the trajectory we might see for Burke this next year.
Here’s part of my theory behind the Mo Williams comparison (and you can decide if you agree or if you think I’m way off base or somewhere in between): undersized point guard, deceptively quick, good three-point shooter, poor shooter overall, shoots too much at times, decent passer.
Mo Williams is 6’1” 185, while Burke is 6’0” and 190. Burke’s reach does help him a bit here, but in a league where taller, stronger point guards—Russell Westbrook, John Wall, Stephen Curry, Goran Dragic, and Damian Lillard are all 6’3” or 6’4”—are becoming part of the recipe for success, a shorter point guard can be at a disadvantage offensively and defensively. The other area in which Burke and Williams were similar in their rookie season was in that of FG%: 38.0%. Because Burke was a decent three-point shooter—and took quite a few threes per game—his eFG% was 44.2% last year, while Mo’s was 39.6% in his rookie season. Even though Burke shot very well from the free-throw line—90.3%—because he went to the line so rarely (a FTr of .126), his TS% wasn’t much higher than his eFG% at 47.3%, though that was still higher than Mo’s TS% of 43.3% his rookie season. Burke and Williams had similar rebounding numbers per 36 minutes (3.3 and 3.4, respectively), and similar FGA/36 minutes (14.3 and 14.1, respectively), those FGA/36 numbers are significantly higher than the other three PG in this analysis.
So, bringing the other three names into the mix, what were some numbers that jumped out?
|Player Per 36 Minutes||Season||Age||G||MP||FGA||FG%||3PA||3P%||2PA||2P%||FTA||FT%||TRB||AST||STL||TOV||PTS|
Burke is the shortest of the five at 6’0”. Tony Parker is 6’2” and the others are 6’1”. Fisher is 200, Chalmers is 190, Mo is 185, Parker is 180, and Burke is 190.
Chalmers and Parker were the only ones who had similar MPG in their rookie seasons as Trey Burke. Burke was at 32.3 and Chalmers was 32.0 while Parker was at 29.4. Mo Williams and Derek Fisher were at 13.5 and 11.5, respectively.
Burke had the lowest FG% of the bunch in his rookie season (tied for the lowest among the five with Mo Williams, as already discussed) at 38.0%. His TS% was second-lowest of the bunch (.473, vs. .433 for Mo Williams, and .548 for Mario Chalmers), and his eFG% was right in the middle of the five, given that his 3P% is decent, but his TS% drops because his FTr is the lowest of the five at .126 (Fisher had the highest FTr as a rookie at .458. .458!)
Burke had the second-highest 3P% of those five players as rookies, at 33% (vs. 36.7% for Chalmers).
Burke had the highest FT% by far in his rookie season, at an incredible 90.3%.
He had the highest per-game assist totals, as well as the highest per-36-minute assist totals (5.7 and 6.3).
He had the lowest steal average per 36 minutes of the group (0.7).
Also lowest turnover rate per 36 minutes (2.1).
Second highest usage rate of the five guys (Mo Williams was first).
Burke had the worst defensive rating of the five, while also having the second-best offensive rating.
So, what did I learn looking over these numbers? One thing that stood out to me was that, in three of the four cases of those other point guards, the FG% significantly increased in the second season. Mo Williams jumped from 38.0% to 43.8% (eFG% from 39.6% to 46.0%; TS% from 43.3% to 50.4%). Tony Parker increased from 41.9% to 46.4% (eFG% from 46.7% to 50.3%; TS% from 49.7% to 54.2%). Derek Fisher improved from 39.7% to 43.4% (eFG% from 43.9% to 47.5%; TS% from 49.1% to 53.3%). Only Mario Chalmers decreased his FG% from year 1 to year 2: 42.0% to 40.1% (eFG% 50.6% to 48.3%; TS% from 54.8% to 51.9%). Interestingly, Parker and Fisher saw decreases in those percentages in their third season, but Mo Williams saw improvements there in his third season.
Considering shooting percentage was an area in which Burke really struggled his rookie season, I’m encouraged by the fact that (potentially) similar players saw marked improvements in that area after the rookie campaign.
Who would be your comp for Trey Burke? What do you see as his ceiling?