Trey Burke Video Scouting Report

August 18th, 2014 | by Dakota Schmidt
Photo by Melissa Majchrzak - NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Melissa Majchrzak – NBAE via Getty Images

After the expected departures of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap during the 2013 offseason, it was apparent that the Jazz were in the midst of an extended rebuilding period. While that chapter of the franchise was on the verge of beginning, they already had some key, young pieces that were set to become the pillars for the future of the team. Those names included a slew of former top 10 picks(Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors), who would to be looked upon to step up as leaders of an organization. However, in that same summer, that trio was met with a new partner, as they were joined by former Michigan guard Trey Burke.

By being the team’s first real young point guard since Deron Williams, the fanbase’s attention was immediately transfixed to the Michigan alum. Though before he was able to make his much-anticipated Jazz debut, Burke ran into a minor road block by suffering a bone fracture in his right index finger, which held him out for the first few weeks of the season.

Following his recovery and subsequent Jazz debut, it took a while for Burke to showcase those skills that pushed him to being the top point guard prospect in that years’ draft. Another aspect holding him was the fact that he was inserted into that starting role without getting a chance to develop chemistry with his new teammates.

As the season started to progress, it was apparent that Burke was starting to become more comfortable with the NBA pace and his role with team. As that comfort level started to increase, so did his chemistry with Utah’s first unit, as he developed an extremely solid pick and roll connection with Derrick Favors. During their first season together, that Favors and Burke duo successfully connected 67 times, which is bound to improve during the upcoming season.

Besides his chemistry with Favors, Burke was able to showcase himself as an extremely solid and efficient distributor. By utilizing that previously mentioned pick and roll connection with Favors, Burke was easily able to penetrate from the perimeter to open up a bevy of different possibilities. One of those potential options included making his way towards the paint to ultimately kick it out to one of his Jazz teammates on the perimeter. That effective playmaking ability was showcased by the fact that Burke had an extremely solid 3.02 Ast/TO ratio, which exceeded the likes of Kyle Lowry, Rajon Rondo and Ricky Rubio.

Apart from his continued improvement as an excellent distributor, Burke wasn’t able to maintain any level of consistency on the offensive end. While he has been able to showcase an ability to score from  most spots on the court, Burke wasn’t really able to get into a rhythm because of the previously mentioned injury on his shooting hand. Even when he was able to use Favors’ pick-and-rolls to help create some open mid-range or perimeter shots, he just struggled to consistently knock them down. That lack of consistency is showcased by his extremely pedestrian 47.3% true shooting percentage, lowest among the players that were consistently in Utah’s rotation.

With the transition to his sophomore season, it wouldn’t be out of the question to see those offensive woes subside. While he struggled to consistently score, Burke showcased a certain amount of comfort in his offensive movements. He rarely looked over aggressive or tentative with the ball in his hands, a rarity for a rookie.

Transitioning over to the defensive end, Burke was the definition of a mixed bag. While he was consistently able to move swiftly on offense, Burke always appeared to be a step or two behind the opposition. Perhaps the main example of that are his struggles with defending the pick-and-roll. In those sets, Burke consistently looked tentative about whether to work over or under the offensive screen. As he gets more accustomed to defending NBA offenses, it should be expected to see those issues diminish, even though he’ll probably never be perfect.
When he’s in man-to-man scenarios, Burke has the appearance of being a solid and focused defender. Even though there are instances where quicker opponents are able to drive past him, Burke is consistently able to be in an ideal position, temporarily hiding those previously mentioned flaws.

As Burke looks to start his 2nd NBA season, there are some questions regarding his future with the team, after Utah selected Aussie point guard Dante Exum with their 8th overall pick. While it’s likely that the rookie guard will initially have a major role inside Utah’s rotation, because of Exum’s unique 6’5 frame, head coach Quin Snyder should be able to find a way to creatively combine Burke with the rookie.

Besides the previously mentioned concerns regarding his fit with Exum, the sophomore season of Trey Burke is going to be an extremely intriguing. While Burke’s skills as a facilitator will beimportant to the future of the players that surround him, he’s going to have become a more consistent offensive threat. Even though that consistency wasn’t showcased during his rookie campaign, Burke is going to be entering the upcoming season 100% healthy, a huge improvement over how he started his rookie season.

While there are a handful of clear flaws in Burke’s game that should diminish as he starts the upcoming season, the influence that he has on the future of the Jazz organization is massive. With Burke entering training camp at full strength, he’ll able to establish that necessary chemistry with his Utah teammates. That combination of team chemistry and Burke’s natural passing instincts should be one of the most intriguing things to watch for as we move closer to the upcoming season.

Dakota Schmidt

A Wisconsinite who spends way too much time watching mediocre basketball. Started to love the game as I watched the "Big 3" era of the Bucks in the early 2000's but was eventually raised on the teams lead by the likes of Michael Redd, Desmond Mason and Andrew Bogut. Those mediocre teams helped me grow an appreciation for the less than spectacular style of basketball which has lead me to different gigs with Queen City Hoops (Bobcats), Ridiculous Upside (D-League) and now Salt City Hoops.

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5 Comments

  1. Pat says:

    Small thing, but Dante Exum was selected with the #5 pick overall. Great piece!

  2. Pat says:

    I think most people (Espn) are really sleeping on the Jazz with these projections of 26-ish wins. We were 1-14 before Trey came back, then we had a stretch of about 30 games where we played close to .500. Then I think the team just sort of gave up on Ty and his insistence on playing Marvin and Jefferson heavy minutes and the season went downhill from there. I think with Trey and the whole gang on board and fighting all year, we will definitely crack 30 wins. Wouldn’t be surprised if we hit 35.

    • Mewko says:

      The Western Conference is getting stronger, but so are the Jazz. I’m expecting 33 wins, give or take one. Anything more is fabulous, especially if we have the worst lottery odds but still get the #1 pick.

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  4. Mewko says:

    I like Trey, he has good natural instincts and feel for the game, something that you can’t teach. I honestly hope Burke is here for the future, he is the captain of the team, although he’ll never be our best player. He showed some flaws, but I’m optimistic that with playing time plus Coach Snyder, those flaws will mostly disappear.

    He’s got the desire to play defense, he’s got to stay passionate, focused, and aggressive on that end because of his small NBA body.

    He’s got the “wolverine” mentality (he was a Michigan Wolverine) to go after rebounds, for most of the 2013-14 season he was near 3 rebounds per game. That will only get better with Trevor Booker on the team.

    His jumpshot…..will have to get better in Snyder’s system. That is something that can be improved by all players, Trey Burke happens to have a better work ethic than all of the core four. So I know he will put in the work and repetition. His shooting numbers and efficiency will hopefully follow the pattern of Jeff Teague’s career. 39, 43, 47 in Teague’s first 3 years.

    These flaws were brought out more last year because he had his rookie jitters, and the pressure of the NBA to win Rookie of the Year. He had a lot of attention. I think with work and playing time, Trey Burke can be a top 15 point guard in the league.

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