As this season ended the Utah Jazz knew they needed to do something about their point guard situation. Every single one of their ball handlers who wasn't on a rookie deal was an unrestricted free agent: Mo Williams, Jamaal Tinsley, Earl Watson, and Randy Foye. And none of the guys on rookie deals were really point guards, though at times during the season both Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward initiated the offense. The Jazz needed a point guard, and many of us were expecting to get a free agent stopgap while treading water until a raw point guard from the draft got a little more seasoned. In reality there was a chance that neither the FA stopgap or the draftee was going to be "The Point Guard of the Future" quality.
All of that changed when the Jazz traded up for University of Michigan's leader Trey Burke.
Burke has star quality and potential. He should play a lot early, and especially needs to on a team that currently has no other point guard ahead of him on the depth chart. I've gone over the data and am partial to the idea of playing on average about 2,000 minutes a year in order to help accelerate the development of a player with high potential. If Burke is going to be the point guard of the future he needs to play now. After all, as soon as he signs his contract the clock will be ticking.
In the last 15 years of the NBA there have been only 21 players at the height of 6'3 or shorter who have played at least 70 games and 2,000 minutes in their rookie years. For me this seemed like a good place to start when looking at the types of players Trey could become if given enough minutes in his rookie year. (And really, there is no god-damn reason not to play him at least 2,000 minutes next year. I mean it with all of my heart. The person who does such a thing should be damned by God Himself.)
Let's take a look at who they were, and what they did.
|NBA Draft||NBA*||Games||Rookie Stats|
|12||Juan Carlos Navarro||MEM||2||39||2007||27||6||3||30||82||37%||25.8||10.9||2.2||0.6|
Okay, so you can say that maybe 3 of these 21 guys didn't turn out to at least be a rotation guy. So that's a 1 in 7 chance that the "Amar theory of 2000 minutes" failed. Bravo.
Play Burke, and see where he ends up. I'm not crazy about the need to start him; however, right now with zero other point guards on the team I fail to see why we wouldn't. Even if we brought back one of the guys who is a free agent he should still start. It's time we grew a pair and decided to evolve with the rest of the league.
What are your expectations for Burke's rookie year? The average for that group of 21 point guards is playing in 80 games (starting 62 of them, for 77%), and getting averages of 13.1 ppg, 5.2 apg, and 1.2 spg in 31.3 mpg. Will Burke be above or below that average next year?