As per SB Nation rules and guidelines, this started as a response to a comment, and now it's this instead. The comment was about Burke's lack of ballhandling being overstated. It prompted a line of thought about what we've seen so far out of Trey, so I decided to jump into long form mode. I hope you enFoye it.
I think we can all agree that while it's early, there is a palpable improvement in Burke's game.
I see a lot of mentions that Burke is now playing SG instead of PG. What follows usually are agreements and Trey's catch and shoot stats. I think we may all be forgetting that our offensive system is based in a context 'without positions,' especially in the backcourt. Trey seems to be playing just another guard position in our positionless basketball now, instead of a traditional PG role. That role does not exist in our offense. We just happen to have a couple guys with some traditional PG skills.
Burke is definitely handling the ball a good amount. He is using a lot of screens. He has a solid PnR game, so it is often called for him and a big (or it's prompted in-game, like when a loose ball gets recovered with 8 seconds left, a situation in which Quin would have prepared them for). Some of Trey's best strengths are along the line of a classic PG, so it's been instilled into him (and helped along by playcalling and preparation) the when, where, and how to utilize those PG instincts within the context of our dribble handoff/PnR/constant movement base action.
It's easy for us to say that Quin is just having other guys like Burks or Hayward handle the ball more, but I think it's got plenty to do with a genuine improvement in Trey's game, and understanding of the system/modern NBA, and how to fit his outsiders' skills into that kind of game.
I just think he's becoming a more efficient cog in the system, and impressively learning to play an entirely different brand of basketball. During his career, save maybe a few games, he's surely been the clear best player on the floor. For practically every game of his entire life, until two years ago. That is a long, long time to be the go-to scorer and that isn't something you can just turn off or entirely transform overnight.
I think what is being seen out of Trey is a very real improvement and not just a hot streak to start another inconsistent year. He's making decisions that reflect what Quin wants from everyone in the system. They don't look like the ones he's been making. He's making quicker, more confident decisions. He is reading the defense faster and continuing to improve the effectiveness of his patented PnR/probing game. He's become a better ball mover and he hasn't seemed to be nearly the square peg in a round hole that he felt like last year in this system.
A full year of reps under his belt now and he looks like he's really progressing in terms of changing his entire mentality on the court. That is a VERY hard thing to do after only spending a year in the NBA, I'd imagine. Some habits and instincts that he's had to change (still in progress, surely) in order to succeed in this system were probably developed in his first ever pick-up games. It seems to me that we are seeing the first payoff of him essentially rewriting all of that, on the fly, against the best athletes in the world.
Obviously this is a bit extreme and premature. I'm just extremely impressed with his ability to keep surprising me with his mental strength. It's telling. Not once, in his two highly criticized years, has he been afraid to take a big shot. I think he is someone who thrives on being doubted. It's how 5-11" guys are go-to scorers their entire lives. It might just be a big factor in what has provoked these strides in his game. It might be what makes him a real NBA asset one day. I don't know that this would be as a starting point guard in today's game, but I think I see Trey's ceiling as Rodney Hood's ceiling, minus 9 inches. (Unless Trey's twitter says different.)
I know it's impossible to follow up a joke of that caliber, but I also want to point out that this change could very well be traced to the dark magic of Quin's ability to connect with and develop young player. We have only seen a year of Quin, just as we've only seen a year of Trey. Perhaps we are beginning to see the true value of both of them.
Chew on this:
Paul Millsap + Quin? = All-Star
DeMarre Carroll + Quin? = Max Contract
Kyle Korver + Quin? = ALL-STAR buzz. Kyle Korver got All-Star buzz and Quin helped. IDK how much, IDC either. IDL typing out the words that ID represents.
All I'm saying is that Trey Burke is going to be an All-Star and will get the max. That's it.
Honestly, I can't believe it, and I know it's been six games, and I know that screens to Trey are like poop to flies, but I think in a couple months we are going to be fantasizing about Trey Burke busting game winners in the playoffs. I doubt he's rewritten that part of his game.
Assistant to the Regional Manager at Trey's Hype Train