On the night of the NBA Draft the Utah Jazz, who had two first rounders, and the Minnesota Timberwolves, who had the higher lotto pick, pulled off a trade. Looking back it may be technically called a heist so far after half a season into the rookie year careers of these three players. The Timberwolves selected Trey Burke at #9, then traded him to the Utah Jazz for the picks that would later become #14 Shabazz Muhammad and #21 Gorgui Dieng.
The Wolves have not gotten much overt use from their rookies, with 'Bazz and 'Gui playing a combined 153 minutes. The Jazz, on the other hand, start Trey Burke and he has played in over 900 so far. Their roles are different as well, in addition to the expected trajectories of their teams. The Jazz are a lotto team not aiming for the playoffs this year, and Burke is the starting point guard. The Wolves are playoff aspirants, and have plenty of quality veterans ahead of Muhammad and Dieng on their depth chart.
Utah appears to be winning this trade if you do a straight up comparison with the production of the Minnesota pair. But it's very early in their respective careers.
- Trey (29 games, 31.1 mpg): 13.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 5.8 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.1 bpg, PER 15.1
- 'Bazz (11 games, 3.8 mpg): 1.1 ppg, 0.7 rpg, 0.0 apg, 0.0 spg, 0.0 bpg, PER 0.6
- Gorgui (21 games, 5.3 mpg): 1.4 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 0.3 apg, 0.3 spg, 0.6 bpg, PER 12.7
I don't think a pure production value determines who wins this trade. After all, if they played against each other Minny would win (2 > 1). Dieng has all of the tools to be a legit defensive force in this league. Like a bigger Serge Ibaka, or an actually useful Bismack Biyombo. Shabazz is a scorer who just doesn't have an opportunity right now because there's this amazing guy name Kevin Martin who starts. While there are more question marks about Muhammad's game, let us not forget that there are question marks to Trey Burke's game too.
Of course, Burke has a history of turning those question marks into exclamation points.
As a Jazz fan I am happy with this trade, and satisfied with the play of Trey Burke. Perhaps in time Timberwolves fans will come to a point where these two guys play well enough to make this trade seem fair. If the adage is that "the team that gets the player wins the trade" is true then I think we must call the Jazz the winner for now.
But it's only half a season into their first season. Many, many things can happen between now and their collective retirements. (You know, like Dieng getting a three point shot and becoming the next Mehmet Okur, or something. Hey, it can happen! Actually, I kinda want to see that happen now that I invented it.)