Trey Burke scored 19 points per game as a sophomore at Michigan, leading his team almost as far as it could have gone, falling only in the NCAA championship game to Louisville. He put his scoring skills on display with 24 points in that final game. But listed at 6 feet, 190 pounds, Burke is a scoring guard who has the size of a point guard.
This combination isn’t ideal, but Burke looks to be a solid NBA player. His offensive upside could be that of five-time NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway and three-time NBA All-Star Kevin Johnson, two other players who scored a lot in college.
Burke’s downside is also there. Over the past 10 years or so, there have been a line of point guards like Burke who have scored at least 15 points per game in college and had a Pure Point Rating of 2.0 (a better version of assist-to-turnover ratio) who have not been great pros. These include some pretty high picks, such as Jonny Flynn, D.J. Augustin and Eric Maynor, all of whom have had plenty of opportunities to become more than reserves. Players like these have had to figure out how to balance their scoring with passing in the NBA, where the surrounding cast is so much better and the defenders are so much bigger than they are.
If Burke goes to a poor team in need of scoring, his ability to put the ball in the basket can be helpful, a la Damon Stoudamire when he went to the Raptors in 1995. Another great example of a shooting point guard in a good situation to succeed was Nick Van Exel, who went to a Lakers team in turmoil. He showed his scoring skill and enough passing ability to earn himself a 13-year NBA career. With the right situation and his skills, Burke can follow these guys to the status of a consistently good starter.
Of teams having top 10 picks in the 2013 draft, the Cavaliers (Kyrie Irving), Wizards (John Wall), Timberwolves (Ricky Rubio) and Trail Blazers (Damian Lillard) already have starting point guards taken in the top 10 of previous draft that they seem wedded to. The other teams have players at the position who they may not keep. And each of those -- the Magic, Bobcats, Suns, Pelicans, Kings and Pistons -- could provide the freedom to Burke to make the decision to shoot or find his teammates.