Size and length are two things that drive the sports world. Especially when you start talking to scouts and draft experts. You'll hear terms like "length for days," "unteachable length." These terms are something you'll never hear to describe All-American Trey Burke, the Big 10 player of the year.
Burke is considered by many to be a late lottery pick; some have him sitting at the end of the first round. The reason he is sitting that far back in a very lackluster 2013 draft is because he is only six feet tall. Guys with less poise and leadership may be drafted first.
Players like the 6'4" Marcus Smart and the 6'6" Michael Carter-Williams are projected to go higher. Both are listed as combo guards (the new college fad). They are more physically imposing, but they are not nearly the point guard that Burke is.
Burke is 12th in all of the NCAA in assists per game this season. True, Carter-Williams does rank ahead of Burke in this stat, and in steals.
One way that Burke separates himself amongst the Carter-Williams and the Smarts is his ability to hold on to the ball. Burke only turns the ball over 11.9% of the time per 100 possessions. His PER is an astounding 29.7, 12th best in all of college basketball. His PER is also the best of any point guard in college. Carter-Williams and Smart do not even qualify in the top 100 (Other potential draft prospects, Victor Olapido and Otto Porter Jr., are 18th and 25th respectively).
Another area that Burke stands out from the rest of our potential draft picks is that his TFG% is a staggering 57.2%. Not only does that lead all our potential draft prospects, but once again leads all guards in the nation.
Throw in the fact that he's an 81% free throw shooter, 88% in the clutch (game that is within +/- 5 points) and once again he's far superior to any other prospect that Sonics Nation is currently looking at and dreaming about.
Burke's defensive numbers are not exactly awe inspiring, but they are better than most. He is also improving
While his steals and steals percentage are both up a full point since last year they are still 2-3 points behind those of Carter-Williams and Smart. However, both those players have 80% of their steals come from playing the passing lanes. Burke on the other hand has 80% of his steals coming from on the ball or press defense. His pick and roll defense allows only 26.7 makes per 100 plays defended.
Defensively Burke is going to get much, much better over time.
Burke possesses the "it" factor that you just can't teach. He has developed over time as a person and a player. He's a gym rat. He is always the first guy to practice, the last guy to leave. He watches film of himself and upcoming teams. He's always picking apart his own game, his teammate's games and trying to figure out ways to improve them and make himself better.
As a point guard he is an extension of the coach on the court who knows exactly how to pace a game, reading the flow of the college game better than anyone since his closest comparison, Chris Paul, did in college back in 2003.
During the Sweet Sixteen, Burke did not score a single point in the first half, choosing instead to get his teammates involved by dishing out five assists, as well as 11 passes that could have been assists but were missed.
He took over the last seven minutes and overtime of the Kansas game with an irriational confidence.
You can talk about the length and size of Carter-Williams and Smart, but they will not be the next Gary Payton and they definitely will not be the next Magic Johnson. You need to look at Trey Burke and realize he is the real deal. He's a future multi-time All Star and, hopefully, if things align properly, the next starting point guard of the Seattle SuperSonics.