Its time to really dive deep into the Jazz PG dilemma.
With the Jazz surging towards the latter half of the season and becoming a defensive force many assume the Jazz to be in the Playoff next year which I am so excited for. Rudy Gobert has changed the franchise but those same people talk about a need at Point Guard. This was the talk all season long and many think the Jazz will upgrade the PG position over the summer and that leaves Trey Burke in the middle of the discussions.
As a Jazz fan I believe we have great tradition at the guard spot with Pistol (whom many of us didnt watch) and Jazz legend John Stockton (GOAT). I may be biased but who doesnt love the all time leader in assists and steals? John did greatness on both sides of the ball.
So I believe the Point Guard position is like a Quarterback on the football field. The PG is the extension of the coach on the floor and really is the floor leader, thus the need for assists and overall facilitation. I think with Stockton in our recent past being a hall of famer has tainted our expectations for the position. We even tasted a little playoff success with Deron Williams. Dwill lacked the floor general personality from what was recently said by Paul Pierce and we all know how things ended in Utah with Dwill.
Back to Trey Burke, whom was the 12-13 Naismith College player of the year, AP College Player of the year and the John Wooden Player of the year winner. I believe that is what Utah saw and more specifically what Dennis Lyndsey wanted on his team as a floor leader. Burke has the mentality to always improve, work harder to get better and do what the team needs for the win. I think that is a trait that teams want in all their players and ultimately can extend careers. Burke had no problems coming off the bench for Quinn Snyder this year.
That confidence trait not only boosts locker room morale but also allows for game winners. I have heard alot about how it takes a PG longer to develop. I don't know if statistically its 100% true but numbers do show it looks to be more of an occurrence amongst PG's than any other position. I have been wanting to write about this for over a year and many comparison players have gone through my mind. I will show Burkes stats and compare to players and then show my findings.
Comparison players that I have thought of are TJ Ford, DJ Augustin, Mike Conley, Kyle Lowry, Darren Collison, Kemba Walker and recently the Hawks combo of PG's Dennis Schroder and Jeff Teague. Many of these came from either watching them or memory of the player and their career. The Hawks are interesting because Teague really took awhile to become the starter he now is. I wonder if Kirk Henrich is a possible comparison.
* Trey Burke Career Highlights *
Now Burke is not as speedy as some of these other players, just FYI. The TJ Ford comparison doesnt work, Ford started peaking in his second season and had a few solid years. A better scorer and dished more in similar time, Burke played more MPG really. DJ is really hard to gauge, it looks like he took a couple years to start to peak but he bounced around so many teams or should I say roles that its tough. In Charollete he had coaches that just wouldnt play him *cough* cough* Larry Brown. Just ask Jalen Rose about his love of coach Larry Brown, always was hard on his Point Guards.
Mike Conley and Kyle Lowry
Above you can see Mike Conley and Kyle Lowry and they seem to be pretty similar. Conley is a better defender but he also has that floor presence I believe the Jazz see in Burke. The Houston Lowry seems to be comparable to what Burke could become. Roles are similar with no true alpha dog but general overall talent. The wings are similar in the sense of the team need of them. Lowry went to another planet in Toronto but that didnt really last this post season, or even after the All Star break this year. He became an all star and I am not saying Burke will be especially in a PG league so tight in the Western Conference.
Kemba Walker and Darren Collison
I think Kemba is a unique player but Collison seems to be a possibility. Is that what Utah wants in the PG spot, off the bench? As for Jeff Teague he really went to another level in his third year as a starter, I dont think thats in the cards but his backup could be likely we just dont have a large enough sample size since Schroder is in the same draft class as Burke so time will tell.
We do know that Burke is in the last year of his rookie deal and keeps the Jazz financially flexibile since he can be extended or become a RSA to test the Market. I think its to early to trade him and to compare him to the recent Jazz trade of former player drafted #3 overall the Jazz can take time to see if he further develops. The Jazz arent going to hault progress of Exum and have the options to have Bryce Cotton and Raul Neto.
No question the PG position needs help but can Burke further develop. The kid has won at every level and clearly puts the time in to improve. A friend of mine got to attend Jazz practice earlier this year and was shocked about Burkes work ethic, being there clearly earlier than the rest of the team and already in a sweat, he stayed after as well.
That pretty much explains it all, my thoughts and how I really am just a fan in Idaho. I did buy a Trey Burke jersey last year and really dont want it to fall to the back of the closet. These things are expensive now, did I mention my son has a matching jersey as well...
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