Well, for the first time in a while, the Jazz are not shut out on the NBA's X-of-the-month award. Trey Burke has just been named December's rookie of the month. Shoutout to David Locke, who broke the news first (that I saw).
Trey's stats are, of course, quite good:
15 ppg, 3 rebounds, 6 assists while shooting 41% overall, 37% from three, and freaking 92% from the free throw line.
But the real impact isn't on his own stats ... it's on his team. The Jazz went 7-9 with Trey's return and the offense has been noticeably better. The Jazz are still good at getting blown to pieces in losses, but he's helped the teams both keep more games close and win those close games.
And he's been a huge help to several players on the team: most notably Alec Burks and Derrick Favors. Here is a bit from ESPN's Hardwood Paroxysm, and written by Jack Winter:
Check out the numbers below for two of Utah’s youngsters, pre- and post-Burke. Sometimes you don’t need new-fangled advanced statistics to tell a story. All statistics are per 36 minutes of play.
- Without: 14.5 points, 11.0 rebounds, 2.7 turnovers, 47.8% FGs
- With: 16.0 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.1 turnovers, 55.2% FGs
These guys can play! The inability of Favors and Burks to develop on offense over the summer was perhaps the Jazz’s biggest cause for concern in the early going this season. They’d just paid Favors $48 million to eventually produce at something close to All-Star level, and were counting on Burks to shore up a wing rotation bereft of any longterm talent save for Hayward. Amazing what competent point guard play can do for supporting offensive players! More points, better shooting percentages, fewer turnovers, oh my!
- Without: 14.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.7 turnovers, 36.1% FGs, 21.7% 3PTs
- With: 17.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.2 turnovers, 47.2% FGs, 43.2% 3PTs
Thus far, Trey has had a much more impressive rookie season than Deron Williams did eight years ago. I suppose that shouldn't be mind-blowing ... Deron didn't really look like Deron until his second year. And it doesn't necessarily mean Trey's going to be better than Deron in years 2-7. Deron's jumps in years two and three were pretty incredible.
But what it does mean is that we fans can be really excited about having a player good enough to get this kind of honor.
Congratulations Trey, and let's all hope this is just the beginning.