The evolution of Trey Burke has spawned from unheralded point guard out of Ohio to surprise freshman in the Big 10 to now, All American – and what should be early consideration for POY honors. Burke entered his name into the 2012 NBA Draft until ultimately deciding to return to school. The decision looks a wise one as Burke continues to up his game and now with a continued understanding of the point guard position coupled with improved strength and quickness, Burke looks like a 1st round lock. If any NBA scouts were in attendance this past Saturday night in Brooklyn, they surely came away impressed.
Burke had his way with any and all West Virginia guards from Juwan Staten to Jabarie Hinds to Gary Browne. Burke’s ability has helped lead Michigan to an 11-0 start and very real Final 4 aspirations. Nik Stauskas and Tim Hardaway along with Glen Robinson III have helped matters but it’s Burke that is the driving force and improving their games while simplifying them at the same time. Stauskas can live off of drive and kicks, Hardaway’s floor game has improved but has the luxury of concentrating on and doing what he does best – score.
Burke’s numbers currently look like this:
18 points per, 7 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 53.5% FG shooting, 38.3% from 3 and 75.7 FT%. Burke has a usage rate of 26%, a turnover to assist ratio of 3.3 to 1, and by result Michigan as a team is shooting 51% from the floor, 57.5% from 2PT and 40% from 3 with only a turnover rate of 15.9 (17th nationally – and Burke only has 6 turnovers in his last 6 games.). Add it all up and Michigan is the 5th most efficient offense so far this season.
The ability to play in the pick and roll is mandatory for any PG with the NBA in their sights and Burke does it as well as anyone. He has great pace to his game and is never in a hurry. With his increased explosiveness this season Burke also is proving to be deadly creating his own shot when things break down.
Burke is currently a good shooter, not quite yet great – but certainly good enough that you can’t go under a screen:
Ideally, you’d like to force Burke left and even here – where West Virginia hedges hard and seems to have Burke trapped – there is no panic and Burke’s ability to keep his dribble alive along with his court vision makes the play:
Burke’s ability to break people down was on display Saturday night as well:
He has really been able to blend his scoring and facilitating together nicely this season. His ability to get to where he wants on the floor is impressive this season and is leading to improved efficiency, this is a play I’m not sure he could finish last year:
One of the last things you want to do this season is pressure Michigan in the back court or look to play in a transition game. They have multiple ball handlers and will look to attack:
Burke also is showing no problem calling his own number and rejecting a screen if he sees fit. His ability to attack as a scorer makes Michigan so difficult to cover with Stauskas and an improved shooting Hardaway spacing the floor:
Back to the pace of his game, he’s playing at a speed that’s comfortable for him and uncomfortable for anyone guarding him.
Burke was special on Saturday night – perhaps the best game anyone has played this year, so this is above the norm. But the signs he is showing this year is that of a player who was already really good that has made a significant leap.