Trey Burke is most likely going to have the struggles that every young, rookie point guard has. And yet, there is a good chance that he will be better offensively than any of the point guards last season. It's no secret that the Jazz had the worst crew of point guards in the league last season, but just how bad were they?
Mo Williams scored 0.85 points per possession, Jamaal Tinsley 0.67, and Earl Watson put up half a point per possession. I don't need to tell you that those numbers are poor.
It's always hard to project a rookie, but by comparing college stats and rookie stats of other 21 and younger, small point guards, we can at least take an educated guess at what to expect from Trey Burke. In the last 15 years, there have been 17 rookie point guards under the age of 21 and under 6 feet 2 inches. Crunching their numbers leads to these per 36 minute projections for Burke:
These numbers are taken directly from comparisons with previous point guards in a similar situations, but many of those other point guards became first or second offensive options on their teams immediately. I think there is a chance that Hayward takes some possessions away from Burke, but Hayward should also help Burke get some open looks off spot up jumpers, hopefully 3 pointers. Burke will help Hayward by bringing the ball up the court and taking over some of the ball handling that Lucas, Burks, and others couldn't during the preseason.
In Burke's defense
Trey Burke didn't play hard on defense consistently in college. There is no other way to say it. There are legitimate reasons for this, but he will need to give a consistent, and energetic effort in the NBA. More importantly, Burke will need to learn to play team defense, forcing his defender to the appropriate spots on the floor to allow the big men to help out. But he's going to make a lot of mistakes defensively and look simply overmatched some nights. And overall, that will be okay.
Per 36 Minute Projections (with team dynamics in mind)
Despite being a rookie, Trey Burke’s personality will have a great impact on the Utah Jazz this season. Burke has a strong personality and has great confidence in himself. Trey did not shy away from the spotlight at Michigan, as an undersized point guard he lead the Wolverines to the championship game in the 2013 NCAA tournament. Michigan came up just short to the Louisville Cardinals who were the overwhelming favorites.
Burke’s desire to win will help carry the Jazz this season. Burke has stated that he wants to make the playoffs, be Rookie of the Year and do whatever he can to help the Jazz win games. Having a strong willed floor general whose only desire is to win will help every player on the Jazz build its chemistry on and off the court.