Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
I could write my own evaluation of a point guard prospect and it would be fine. But I don't know as much about certain pro prospects as the fans who followed them in college every step of the way. This series, will interview the fans and bloggers from the point guard's college to see if we can gain any better insight into their games.
This is an interview with Zach Travis of SBNation's Michigan Wolverines Blog "maize n brew."
"What are your thoughts on Burke’s future in the NBA? What are his strengths and weaknesses moving to the next level?"
"I personally think Trey has a very exciting NBA career ahead of him, but there are plenty of skeptics that see him as either a role player or average starter, and they have valid points.
His weaknesses at this point are mostly physical. He is maybe six feet tall in sneakers, and still built lean. You can succeed in the NBA with this kind of build, but it takes a great deal of quickness and athleticism to make up for the lack of imposing strength. Burke has a tendency to get pushed around a bit at times, but he can usually deal with it well. The most concerning moment was his game against Syracuse in the Final Four when he was almost totally invisible. That kind of length on the perimeter got to him, but he won't see that kind of defense often so I'm not sure it matters in the long run. He is also prone to more cold streaks than Michigan fans care to admit. Sometimes his shot just isn't falling and he will still try to force it. When his offensive game is clicking it is a sight to behold, but when things aren't falling it can have a large effect on the offense as a whole.
Strength-wise I think he has three really important characteristics that will make him successful in the NBA. First, he is really quick. Like unnaturally quick that you don't see from other players. He can get around people in the blink of an eye and he has a very good understanding of using that quickness to freeze and manipulate defenders into giving up lanes for him to attack. Second, his floor vision and feel for the court are really great. You don't see it as much in the half-court, but watching Michigan's transition offense this year was a real treat. Burke is great at pushing the tempo, getting behind the defense, and finding ways to score -- be it passing or attacking the rim himself. Finally, he is able to do so much because he has a deep arsenal of offensive moves. He showed in the NCAA tournament
that he has impressive range on his jump shot, and he spent all year hitting everything from pull up jumpers to floaters and wild layups against guys much bigger than him. He has such a diverse skill set and so much quickness that he is a nightmare to guard without help, and once help does come he is great at exploiting it for easy baskets."
"Do you think Burke is ready for the NBA and is there a team or a system that you think would fit his skill set well? "
"Let me put it this way: I think Trey Burke
is as ready as he will ever be.
He isn't ever going to get any taller and his athleticism and skills are all basically there and will just get refined down the road. Mentally he is about as composed and focused as you could expect from a young player. There is always the chance that he just proves to be too small or too inconsistent offensively to make it in the NBA, but I doubt that. I'm still not ready to declare him a sure thing, but he is close.
If I had to pick a team, it would be one that likes to get out and run on offense, uses a lot of pick and roll to get guards scoring/passing opportunities, and has a lot of size around the rest of the perimeter to make up for any defensive liabilities Burke may present. That would be the perfect situation, but I also don't think he will have too much trouble running a half-court offense or some complex offensive scheme."
"What is something that people would only know about Trey Burke if they followed him closely?"
"If I had to pick something I would go with how much success he has had. Trey has won at every level, and done so in impressive fashion. He won an AAU under-16 national title in high school, a state title as a junior (and runner up as a senior), was Mr. Basketball in Ohio, and led Michigan to its first conference title, number one ranking, and Final Four in a long time. He has been ridiculously successful at every stop of his career, and has been the x-factor on almost all of those teams."
"What is your prediction for where Trey Burke will be selected in the draft and by what team?"
"I'm not too familiar with what each NBA team is looking for just yet. However, I think Burke will end up in the mid to late lottery. Probably between 8-15 depending on how things shake out and who needs what. I think some teams early will be scared to reach for someone that doesn't have the typical measurables but he is too much of a value pick to fall much past 15.
In my personal opinion, whoever ends up with Trey Burke is going to be happy they did for a long time."
Thanks again to Zach for these really insightful answers. I put a lot of pressure on him to talk about the NBA, when college sports are his expertise. But like I hoped, Zach, and other college writers, know their college prospects. Thanks again, Zach.
For more info on Trey Burke over at Maize and Brew, check out these articles: