If I had a nickle for every time Utah’s point guard woes were mentioned between 2010 and 2016, I’d have approximately $1,635,987.55 (but that’s just a ballpark number).
The Jazz went from having one of the best point guards since the turn of the century to point guard purgatory in 2010. And it has taken them about seven years to bring in a capable starter.
That wasn’t how it was supposed to go though. After cycling through guys like Devin Harris, Mo Williams and Jamaal Tinsley for three years, newly christened GM Dennis Lindsey acquired Michigan point guard Trey Burke in 2013.
This was supposed to be the finishing touch of the Jazz’s future starting lineup along with Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. But it didn’t work out. Burke couldn’t make things work in Utah. So he got shipped to Washington.
Let’s look at how both parties have been doing since the semi-bitter divorce this off-season.
Despite averaging the fewest minutes in his career (12.6), Burke is not having a bad year. As would be expected with fewer minutes, Burke is putting up career lows in points (5.0), assists (1.8) and FGA (4.6). But Burke is having a career-best year in terms of efficiency.
With Utah, Burke hit 38.4 percent of his shots, (32.9 from beyond the arc). In the nation’s capitol, he is hitting 44.7 percent of his field goals (41.9 from deep). Burke is basically doing the thing that Jazz fans were constantly wishing he would do: make his shots.
The Jazz’s point guard problem has essentially been fixed. Yes, we can always nitpick. George Hill hasn’t been healthy, Dante Exum has struggled this season (though not as much lately) and Shelvin Mack will either make you clap your hands or slap your face.
Still, this season Jazz fans have been treated to much better point guard play. Compare, if you will the numbers of this season’s George Hill and Utah’s starting point guards since D-Will.
For this comparison I took every point guard who has started 20 or more games in a season since the 2011-12 season, and I took the numbers from that season and combined them to get per-game averages.
(Note: I’m really sorry if you’re having problems reading the table, I couldn’t get one inserted to I put in a picture from Excel)
So the Jazz are doing much better at the point guard position. And they’re doing it without Trey Burke. It’s not what we or Dennis Lindsey expected back in 2013, but Utah finally made it work.
Trey Burke is one of those guys that I really wanted to see succeed even though deep down I had to eventually admit to myself that they wouldn’t (like with Jeremy Evans). I wasn’t happy when he left the Jazz and I wish he was dropping buckets and dishing out dimes for the Jazz right now. But that’s the NBA for you.