A year of experience in the NBA doesn’t seem to give Trey Burke an advantage of Dante Exum, the Australian rookie who was taken fifth in the 2014 NBA draft. The Utah Jazz have some changes to make in their back court, and one of them will be making the younger of the players into their starting point guard.
Burke started last season late because of an injury, but the Jazz looked a lot better once he joined in, finishing third in the Rookie of the year voting, averaging 12.8 points and 5.7 assists per game. However, his shooting was atrocious (38% from the field), and the Summer League hasn’t really shown anyone he has improved as a shooter nor as a play maker, with some very bad decision making demonstrations.
Dante Exum hasn’t been great all the time, but he has had moments of brilliance in Las Vegas, and right now, the only chance Trey Burke ends up starting for the Jazz at the beginning of next season will be if he can show he’s capable of playing in the same back court next to Exum. Maybe shooting guard isn’t the classic position for Burke considering his size, but he’s simply the inferior point guard in this competition.
Maybe coming off the bench while Alec Burks plays next to Exum as a shooting guard will be good for Burke. Burks averaged 14 points per game last season coming off the bench and entering his fourth season in the NBA, he’s probably a bit better equipped to play next to Exum in the back court.
Burke can score, but he’s also a player who needs the ball in his hands. Being the sixth man and playing as much as possible without Exum, for now, might be the best solution for the Jazz to get out the most of their three guards while Gordon Hayward will be the man playing at the small forward position.
Amin Elhassan of ESPN Insider probably puts it best: Although Exum’s electric play also comes with the inconsistent shooting expected of rookie, if I’m going to bet on a point guard who can’t shoot, I’ll put my money on the Australian. Burke’s small stature and lack of quickness dictate that he must win the skill war. Otherwise, he’s little more than Wally Pipp to Exum’s Lou Gehrig.