Trey Burke









Perhaps no player was more important to their team or had a larger impact on their team than Michigan point guard Trey Burke. So it was no surprise that he ended up winning the Naismith award, which has had a long line of winners going on to have successful NBA careers. Barring a major injury, Burke figures to strongly follow in that path.


The first thing that stands out about Burke is how he controls his team and is able to set-up his teammates. With outstanding vision and lots of creativity, Burke was the engine for one of the best offenses in the nation last year. Particularly deadly in the pick-and-roll, his strength lies in finding and setting up his teammates and doing so efficiently. Burke had one of the best PPR’s in the nation last year to go along with a 3/1 A:TO ratio. Both were significant improvements from his freshman and go to show what type of player he has become.


Burke has a great feel for the game and is able to excel in both the half-court and in transition. His basketball IQ and basketball instincts allow for him to be deadly with the ball in his hands. While not blessed with blinding speed or explosive athleticism, Burke was very crafty with the ball in his hands, being able to get to spaces and spots on the floor as he wanted. Teams last year would try to get the ball out of Burke’s hands in hopes of trying to stop the Michigan offense. They also tried to speed him up and match up with him physically, neither worked as witnessed by his efficient play.


The other strong part about Burke’s game was his shooting ability and ability to force defenses to guard him on the perimeter. He has developed nice range on his shot and is a reliable shooter from the perimeter. He also improved his efficiency inside and finishing around the rim, where he attacked more this year. But will nevertheless need to improve in that aspect of his game. Still, a large part of his game is jump-shot reliant and operating in pick-and-roll situations.


One thing that should be mentioned when talking about Burke, is his ability to get things done in the clutch and come through when his team needed. He was the leader of the Michigan team and it showed in crunch time, when they looked to him to make the right decisions and make the big shots.


On defense, Burke will never be an All-NBA defender but he won’t be a liability either. He measured in bigger at the NBA Combine than some expected, which should erase some doubts about him getting overpowered or looked over when guarding the leagues PGs. His lateral quickness is solid but is prone to being beaten by some of the quicker point guards in the league. He was able to get into the passing lane at a decent rate last year but again, that won’t be a strength of his game.


Part of Burke’s defensive struggles at Michigan was the system they ran (which didn’t emphasize defense) and how much of the offensive burden he carried. Perhaps in the right system in the NBA he will be a better defender, but he will be able to get by with his basketball smarts and instincts on this end.



While Burke doesn’t possess the elite athletic ability that some of the other prospects in this draft do, or even the high-end potential, Burke’s playmaking ability and polish are what separate him. He improved significantly in his sophomore year, to the point of where he would have possibly challenged Marcus Smart for the 1st PG taken. Burke won’t be a sexy pick by any means but with his strengths and where the league is headed, he figures to have a long successful career in the NBA. Teams are looking for their PG of the future now more than ever and Burke will be able someone teams can build with.