If Kirk Hinrich and can pass their physicals, the Utah Jazz will be able to complete their three-team trade and proudly display . With Mack, the Jazz now will have four point guards on the roster, and three point guards active and healthy to play during the stretch run of the 2015-2016 season. Mack was a college teammate of , but since being drafted a year later he has bumped around the league but hasn't yet made a huge mark on it. Many Jazz fans haven't gotten a chance to see much of him as he has played his entire career in the Eastern Conference. To help everyone out I thought it would be educational to compare his career against that of the other three point guards on the roster: , , and .
Mack is from Lexington, Kentucky; Burke is from Columbus, Ohio; Neto is from Belo Horizonte, Brazil; and Exum is from Melbourne, Australia. They've come from all over to help the Jazz, and all of them are on contract for next season. (Though, Mack has a non-guaranteed contract.)
Exum is a second generation professional athlete, as his dad (teammate of Michael Jordan and James Worthy at UNC) put in work in Australia. Burke is a second generation NCAA athlete, as both of his parents were doing things a step under the top competition (father was Division II basketball player, mother was a track star). Neto is a second generation professional athlete as well, as his father played professionally in Brazil (was a teammate of a young ). Mack is the son of Shelvin Mack Sr., and I don't know anything about him.
Mack has a FIBA Under-19 gold medal from 2009. No one else has any hardware. Both Mack and Burke were runners up in the NCAA Championship game (2010, and 2013 respectively). Neto has played professional basketball now in South America, Europe, and North America. Exum was drafted out of high school.
Age and Experience:
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Dante and Trey are the youngest, but Trey has the most on-court play out of all four of these guys. He doesn't have ant National Team experience, or NBA Playoff Experience (only Shelvin has that), but he has nearly 10,000 all-purpose, non-high school games experience. Sadly, this table isn't complete because I do not have access to Raul's stats from Brazil, only from Europe. I can't imagine that he was playing more than 12 mpg when he was a teen, though. But what do I know?
Mack brings experience (college, NBA Playoffs, and being a guy in his 5th season), and at nearly 26 years old, he's one of the elder statesmen on this team. That's not to say he's like or anything. He's not some former All-Star bringing sage advice. He was a 3rd stringer. But he is, fully, an NBA player which is a huge step up from the / types.
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Size and speed. You know who has it? Dante. Dante is head and shoulders over the rest of these guys. Mack-truck comes in with some nice athleticism as well, and his 79.50" wingspan is only second to Dante's 81.50". He also was the only guy out there who put up a good showing at the bench press. I think a few people will be surprised with Trey's speed and jumping ability. Dante is also surprising because of his size, but he's not quite someone we can call a "great athlete", heck, Trey out jumped him with a running head start.
Of course, it's very, very, important to recognize that these measurements are all old now. The height and wingspan and stuff like that remain static (unless Dante is still growing which we suspect). But after years in the league, off-season training (P3, for example), and injuries, the jumping and running stuff could be massively different by now. Moreover, these measurements aren't perfect for the game. I cam assume that Burke and Neto are about as fast as one another in a sprint, but I think we all see Neto as being the faster player with the ball in his hands, right?
NBA Career Statistics:
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This is unfair because Exum only played one season; Neto is in the middle of his first season; Burke has played under two different head coaches and his current role is quite different today; and Mack has played for three different NBA teams -- with Utah being a fourth. BUT, Trey gets a lot more 1st place ranks than the other three guys. (These ranks are based on Stat per Game, not per 36 minutes.) That doesn't mean Burke is an All-Star. It just means that he's had the best on-court, NBA career. (N.B. Mack's values include his playoff performances.)
All of them have sub .45 FG% averages, and none of them have a 3:1 assist to turn over ratio. So it's clear that these players are not currently as good as they will one day end up being. Mack is a very steady point guard in the traditional sense, and this is where his help will come from on offense. It is said that he is a great game manager and he should be. He's almost 26 and in his 5th year in the league. He's not a details guy, though, by shooting less than 80% from the FT line, otherwise he probably would be a guy who gets more crunch time minutes.
Raul Neto? Steals and making threes. I like what we're seeing so far from him. Dante Exum? We expect his "third" year stats to be much better than his rookie year stats. It's almost silly to expect his numbers to be that bad. But it's also good to recognize just how poop-y it was.
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Man, I just can't get over how passive Exum was as a rookie. He didn't look like that against, and I hope we see more of that aggression going forward. But when you look at the analytics, man, Burke is still coming out ahead more often than not. That doesn't mean he's implicitly good -- but out of this foursome he seems to be the prettiest girl at the Wasatch ball.
Mack continues to show his pure point guard skills here, with his great AST%, and reasonably okay TOV%. He's also good when he's in the game, with the best Win Shares / 48 minutes values. He also has the 2nd best PER value, and he shows up well all over the board.
The dumb thing is that whenever I do an analysis of these points on our club I end up seeing value in Trey Burke. Some of the more anti-Trey people that communicate with me do not spend hours of their free time looking this up though.
Awards and Honors:
- Dante Exum was selected to play in a lot of National Teams, Under-17, Under-19, and the Senior Men's team in 2013 and 2014. He was drafted Top 5 right out of high school in the 2014 NBA Draft; and he played in the Rising Stars Challenge as a rookie.
- Trey Burke was a big time crunch time performer leading his team to a OHSAA Division I regional title in high school, and Ohio State champion in 2009. He was the runner-up in the 2008 AAU U15 national tournament, and won the 2009 AAU U16 national tournament. He was Ohio Mr. Basketball in 2011. He was a Parade All-American 2nd team member in 2011. In college he led all freshman in scoring, won three Big Ten Player of the week awards, and was the Big Ten Freshman of the year in 2012. He was All-Big Ten 1st team in 2013, the Big Ten Player of the year in 2013, the Bob Cousy Award Winner in 2013 (for best NCAA Point Guard), and was a consensus All-American 1st team member in 2013. That same year he powered Michigan to the NCAA Championship game (which they lost), but he was still the National College Player of the Year. He was drafted Top 10 in the 2013 NBA Draft. As a rookie in the NBA he was Rookie of the Month three times, finished on the All-Rookie 1st Team, and third in Rookie of the Year voting in 2014. He was also the NBA Skills Challenge champion during All-Star weekend, and has played in the Rising Stars game as a rookie and as a sophomore. He has hit a few game-winners in his short career at the NBA level, but has yet to take over like he did during March Madness a few years ago. Over the summer he was briefly added to the USA Basketball mega-pipeline roster, but was replaced by for some reason, shortly after.
- Raul Neto is so hot. He has also played for Brazil in U-18 tournaments, and were the rummers up in 2010 FIBA U-18 play. That same year he made the Senior Men's basketball team in the 2010 FIBA World Championship. He has played for Brazil in the 2012 Olympics, and again the World Championships in 2014. After being selected in the 2nd round of the 2013 NBA Draft he played in the rising stars challenge as a rookie this past month.
- Shelvin Mack was on the Horizon League All-Newcomer team in 2009, was on the All-Horizon League 1st team in 2010, and on the 2nd team in 2011. In 2010 he helped power Butler to the NCAA Championship game, but lost. He was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2011 NBA Draft, and bounced around to the Washington Wizards, Maine Red Claws, Philadelphia 76ers, Main Red Claws, Atlanta Hawks, and now the Utah Jazz. While in the NBA-DL he was an All-Star in 2013. Unlike the rest of these guys, he's actually played in the playoffs.
There's no "winner" here as all four players are on the Utah Jazz and are team mates. The goal this year is to make the playoffs, and that's a goal that normal starter Dante Exum just can't help them achieve this year. Mack is a 3rd stringer with actual experience and was a nice, but not integral role player for a playoff team last year. Neto is a rookie who is getting better every day, and Burke is making a place for himself in the NBA after not making the jump from college star to NBA star.
A smart coach should be able to find a way to make it work, and I think Quin Snyder can do that. But it's up to these guys to push one another, and lift each up when they are down. While none of them are stars, on paper this team has never been this deep at point guard. The talent is there, the potential is there, the performances need to happen.
Can you make the Western Conference Playoffs in this point guard era with this crew? I think that's just something the Utah Jazz want to show the world they can.