After being selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2013 Draft, Trey Burke's short NBA career has been labeled by many as disappointing and unfulfilling. Through his first three seasons, the former College Basketball Player of the Year has shot only 38% from the field and has seen his playing time decrease as Jazz coach Quin Snyder repeatedly turned to less experienced players to handle the point guard duties. Yet, it is impossible to already label Burke as a bust, as the 23-year old's best years are likely ahead.
In 2013, Trey Burke was brought in to a Jazz organization looking for a young playmaker and a future franchise player. He was immediately thrown into a young starting rotation in which he averaged over 12 points a game and handled a significant load of the offense.
Even though Burke struggled occasionally from the floor, there was plenty of reason to be optimistic about his future. The next season, though, a rough first half led newly appointed head coach Quin Snyder to demote Burke to the bench in favor of rookie Dante Exum. While Burke still averaged 30 minutes and 12 points a game, it became clear Exum was the front runner for starting duties in the future.
While many young lottery picks demoted to the bench may have been upset to see their position lost so quickly, Burke saw the move as a chance to improve and win his spot back the next season. In an interview with USA Today, Burke spoke about his new role, saying, "I understand why. I know I have to bring more to the table."
This past year, Burke received the fewest minutes of his career. Even with Exum injured, Burke played only 19 minutes a game behind rookie Raul Neto. While less court time hurt his overall offensive output, Burke did set career highs in terms of shooting percentage, an area he had struggled with his first two seasons. Burke also worked to improve on the defensive end, saying, "I think my perspective on the game has changed, as well. It’s not all about the offensive end. I feel I can improve tremendously on defense."
Now in Washington, Trey Burke is ready for a fresh start on his career. After three long years, he has finally been given the opportunity to learn from a top point guard in John Wall and develop into the elite point guard he has shown flashes of being.
When asked about Wall's influence on him, Burke replied, "He's a guy that I always watched and tried to take some things from his game." This attitude reflects Burke's willingness to learn and improve, a quality which will be of great value in Washington. While there are many question marks for the Wizards heading into the 2016-2017 season, fans should rest assured knowing they have gained a reliable and hard working guard ready to make an impact.