Burke has many things going for him. His leadership ability is unquestioned, his free throw shooting percentage and assist-to-turnover ratios are pluses and since his injury, he has played in 61 straight games as of Friday, April 4.
But there are many things Burke must work on as the off-season fast approaches. And not only must he work on those things that need immediate attention; there is the 2014 NBA Draft class coming in that has guards who may be more appealing than Burke himself.
Burke averaged about 13 points and five assists per game for a Utah Jazz team that will likely finish the 2013-14 season with one of the five worst records in the NBA.
Such things can weigh on a player’s mind, and when you factor in that Brazilian import Raul Neto is still overseas -- and may make a move stateside over the summer -- this off-season may make or break Burke’s career in Utah.
Here are five reasons Burke may not be the answer for the Jazz.
Field goal shooting
Burke was the second-worst point guard in the NBA shooting the basketball this year -- second only to Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks.
He shot just 37.8 percent from the field -- which will not get the job done for the Jazz, or for any other team in the NBA. The one area where the Jazz desperately needed his help was one they didn’t get.
Shooting 33 percent from behind the arc only tells part of his story; the other part was that with his average three-point percentage -- he took the most shots (301) by far of any Jazz player.
When Burke gets to the line he’s automatic from the charity stripe (89 percent) -- so that’s not the problem. The problem is he doesn’t get to the line enough for it to matter.
As of Friday, April 4 Burke has only drawn 101 fouls -- which also means he isn’t taking enough chances. His assist-to-turnover ratio sits at about 3-to-1 (5.3 assists to 1.8 turnovers per game).
According to ESPN analyst John Hollinger, that ranks him 15th among active NBA point guards. But you have to get to the hoop to score points.
Currently playing in Spain for first-tier professional club Lagun Aro GBC, the 21-year-old Neto -- or Raulzinho, as he’s known over there -- is the one player that made Trey Burke look bad at the Orlando Summer League.
Neto is far and away -- until the Jazz make a play for another point guard -- the No. 1 threat (sorry, Diante Garrett) to Burke’s throne.
If Burke doesn’t pan out in Utah -- and 12.5 points and 5.3 assists for Trey might not cut it -- the Jazz do have a viable option stashed overseas. Also, Neto’s Spanish league contract expires this year -- meaning Raulzinho is probably coming stateside for good.
The “point-forward” may be back. Made famous by Earvin “Magic” Johnson, the position has been through ups and downs. In this draft alone, there are two legitimate “point-forwards.”
One, Australia’s 6-6 Dante Exum, is already working out in LA, has the same agent (Rob Pelinka) as Kobe and appears headed to the Lakers. The other is more intriguing.
Kyle Anderson (pictured) of UCLA is 6-9 and can score, rebound and dish it out (15 points, 9 rebounds and seven assists per game) while shooting 48 percent from both the field and behind the arc.
2014 NBA Draft
Like the afore-mentioned Exum and Anderson, the 2014 NBA Draft class is loaded with point-guard talent that can do it all.
Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart would have been picked before Burke had he come out last year -- but he opted to stay until this draft.
Canadian Tyler Ennis of Syracuse (pictured) would be perfect for the Jazz because he played in the pick-and-roll for Orange coach Jim Boeheim, he’s young like Burke -- and has a good assist-to-turnover ratio. Both Smart and Ennis are projected to be drafted in the lottery.