Trey Burke was absolutely terrible during the Summer League a few months back. The rookie guard shot a dismal 24 percent from the field (13-54). It was a terrible outing, and made many NBA fans, as well as fantasy owners, worry about the 2013 prospects for the former Michigan product. To that, I offer two words of advice in my best Mike Ditka voice.
We’ve seen talented players immensely struggle during summer ball, and later watch them go off in the pros. Consider that in 2008, number one pick Derrick Rose shot 5-of-17 from the field, as well as 9-of-14 from the strike. I’m not quite positive, but I think he had some success in years after. These things happen, folks. And now, fast forward to November, Burke is back from a nagging finger injury, and has made his debut for both the Jazz and fantasy owners. In his first two career games, Burke scored 16 points, adding six rebounds and four assists.
You couldn’t tell by his first two contests, but Burke is about to explode, and fantasy owners will reap the benefits.
During those two games, Burke was eased in slowly, averaging just 16 minutes per game. However, he looked good, attacking the rim, showing no fear. Of course, as expected, Burke showed a little rust, having not played in significant action for months, but a spot in the Utah starting lineup will help immensely. According to the Deseret News, that is imminent, as Burke could crack the starting lineup as soon as Sunday against the Thunder. That’ll be monumental for fantasy owners, but it remains to be seen exactly where he is going to play. Teammate Gordon Hayward is a better player, and despite being a shooting guard, Hayward is probably a better bet to run the Jazz offense. And while their record (1-13) may suggest a terrible team, the Jazz actually have some strong pieces to help Burke contribute in fantasy land.
First of all, their two bigs are very, very good. Derrick Favors is a double double machine, while Enes Kanter is quite the presence as well. These two can both finish at the rim, and should provide plenty of assist opportunity for Burke. I think Burke, a top-10 draft pick, gets the starting point guard job immediately, and maintains it. There is no competition behind him at the position, unless you consider the likes of Brandon Rush and John Lucas III competition. Also, there is nothing better than a young, promising player on a really bad team. As long as he is healthy, Utah will give Burke as many minutes as he can handle to see what they have in their 2013 investment. Burke should be a strong fantasy option in steals, assists and three-pointers this season.
According to ESPN, Burke is owned in just 66.8% of leagues, so he is out there a bit if you need some depth and upside on your fantasy roster. In a league where other rookies are soaking up the headlines, don’t forget about Burke.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.