The Utah Jazz have been after a point guard for some time. They got theirs this offseason via trade, which means they can finally move Trey Burke to be someone else’s developmental problem.
The Jazz acquired George Hill from the Indiana Pacers, and he’s designated to be their starting point guard, while Dante Exum backs him up, coming back after missing an entire season of basketball. The Jazz probably still hope that Exum becomes good enough to be their starter in a year and maybe even during this season. For now though, Hill is supposed to be the one who leads the way, maybe even mentoring him. He’s not such a bad example to follow, although Hill was moved for a reason from the Pacers: He isn’t in love with being a ball handler and leader, and often lacks aggression.
With Exum returning, Hill arriving and also the presence of Shelvin Mack, Raul Neto and rookies Marcus Paige and Tyrone Wallace all battling for roster spots, someone has to make way. And Trey Burke is probably going to be the guy. He’s only 23, with one more year left on his deal worth $3.3 million, which makes him not that difficult to move.
Burke, the 9th overall pick of the 2013 draft, was a starter for Utah at point guard for his first two seasons in the league, averaging 14.8 points and 5.7 assists during that time. However, his defense and shooting problems (37.4% from the field, 32.4% from beyond the arc), and being something of a shooting guard type in a point guard body, moved him to the bench last season. The plan was for Exum to be the starting point guard, but his injury while playing for Australia made the plans change.
Burke wasn’t bad as a backup – at least more efficient. He averaged 10.6 points in only 21.3 minutes a night (played over 30 in the first two years) with his shooting moving up to 41.3% from the field and 34.4% from beyond the arc. A more defined role with less responsibility seemed to help him. And while things are slightly unclear right now with free agency coming up, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem to move Burke, who could do well on a team that needs 20-25 minutes of scoring off the bench, without the pressure that maybe hindered his development in the right direction.