What Washington Can Expect From Trey Burke This Season


Washington received a gift from Utah, getting Trey Burke in a trade for a 2021 second-round pick in June.

Yes, a 2021 second-round pick.

Trey knows what it's like being traded for draft picks. In 2013 he was drafted at pick 9 by the Minnesota Timberwolves, only to be traded to the Utah Jazz that same night, for: you guessed it. Draft picks.

At only 23 years old, Trey finds himself amidst a young backcourt comprised of himself, John Wall (25), Bradley Beal (23), and Tomas Satoransky (24) and is in a good scenario under the Wizard's new player-development oriented Head Coach, Scott Brooks, who has already made allusions to helping Wall step up his already-spectacular level of play; it would be unfit to assume the same attention would not be applied to Burke. 

Ramon Sessions served as Wall's reserve for the past two seasons, averaging 19.4 and 20.3 minutes per game, respectively. 

Sessions shot well from beyond the arc, with a .401% 3-point FG percentage that regressed to .324% the following season. He was able to distribute around 3 assists per game, but never averaged more than 10 points (despite coming close last season with 9.9 PPG).

Let's compare those stats with Burke's under the same guideline of minutes, who came off the bench to average 21.3 MPG last season.

Burke's 3-point FG percentage was .344 (a career high) and averaged 2.3 assists per game. He went on to average 10.6 PPG, a slight downtick from his previous 12.8 PPG showings, but the argument can be made that Trey played off the bench far more this season than earlier in his career.

Statistics rarely show the full nature of a player's game, but these two guards seem to demonstrate very similar offensive contributions, at least on paper. 

However, there are a few other key pieces of information in play here that will impact Burke's expectations in Washington. Ramon Sessions is a 10-year NBA veteran who is unlikely to put up big numbers for Charlotte next season. Burke, on the other hand, is on the last year of his rookie contract and will be looking to show as much improvement as possible in order to garner a large signing when he becomes a restricted free agent at the end of the 2016-17 season.

With a pinch of luck, this motivation will inspire the 23-year-old to push himself to new heights. All while absorbing advice from Scott Brooks, John Wall, and his new, more seasoned teammates.

Burke's defense leaves something to be desired, but Washington is actively seeking to re-establish themselves as a top-10 defensive force, a notion to which Burke should take to heart. 

Brooks has stated that getting his guards to the free-throw line will be a point of emphasis. Burke's no chump from the line, where he averaged .812 FT% over three seasons with the Jazz, most notably going .903% from the stripe when he held a starting role for 68 games as a rookie.

Learning to distribute more effectively and taking smarter shots are areas in which he needs to improve. The talent, work ethic and determination to prove his worth may provide the perfect formula for a breakout season.

Off the court, Burke seems like a genuine guy who has his priorities in order. He has been commended for his leadership in the locker room as well as his composure outside of competition. He stays faithful to his home state of Ohio, where he reportedly makes frequent hospital visits to nearby communities. 

For the District's sports franchises, optimism comes in sparse doses.

Allow yourself to get excited in anticipation for what Burke will add to this roster. There's nothing here to suggest Burke will be another JaVale McGee or Randy Foye. Let's give Trey a warm welcome and look forward to seeing him become an integral part of our team's bench scoring for seasons to come.

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