The NBA Summer League can be a valuable time in a young player’s life, especially a rookie. But just how much does it matter for a guy like Trey Burke? Well, it matters just as little as it does for just about everyone involved.
The Utah Jazz selected Burke with the number nine overall pick that they received from the Minnesota Timberwolves and so far, his critics are out in full force. Burke led the Michigan Wolverines to the National Championship game in 2012-2013 and many considered him the top point guard coming out of the draft this year.
During his time in the summer league, though, he performed no where near the talent level he was expected to show. Burke averaged 8.8 points, 4.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.2 turnovers in his summer league play.
It was his shooting that surprised many people, though. Burke only shot 24 percent from the field and made only one of his 19 three point attempts throughout.
Here’s the thing: Burke’s summer league play means absolutely nothing.
While most experts and analysts will probably tell you the same, here’s why it meant nothing for the Jazz and Burke.
Summer league is a time where the guys on the floor are mostly ones who are dying to make a roster. It’s like the preseason before the preseasons. The competition is no where near the true NBA level, and because of that, it is difficult for any rookie to understand what it will be like playing with a much more talented group.
Does that excuse Burke’s shooting performance? Not necessarily, but that can be fixed.
As a point guard in the NBA, Burke will be asked to facilitate first. Surrounded by summer league players, it’s not easy for anyone to understand what it’s like to be a true facilitator at the professional level. The scorers and shot creators are far and few between.
Burke doesn’t need to be heavily criticized for his performance because he will be playing with a much different group of guys during the regular season — ones who can help make him better as well. It’s unfair to criticize poor performances in the summer league no matter who the player is.
If Burke goes through his rookie season and puts up the same type of stat line, then there will be reason to worry. For now, it’s not going to mean much in the grand scheme of things.