Trey Burke is bound to have a great career if he goes to the Detroit Pistons with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft on Thursday night.
There are several teams toward the top third of the draft that are seeking a topnotch point guard who can help turn their franchise around. Burke worked out for three teams with picks in the top 10 and talked with another. He told Andy Katz of ESPN that he doesn’t expect to go past No. 7, which is held by Sacramento:
Trey Burke said he doesn't think he'll go below Sacramento at 7. Worked out for Orl (2), NO (6), Phx (5), talked to Detroit (8).— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) June 26, 2013
While there’s a good chance that Burke goes before the Pistons pick at No. 8, he needs to hope that Detroit is his next destination. While he would be a solid guard for the other teams that have eyes on him, there’s no question he’d turn into a star with the Pistons.
Detroit has a clear opening at the point guard position. Two of the Pistons’ main guards from last season, Jose Calderon and Will Bynum, are both unrestricted free agents. Taking a guard tonight would show that Detroit probably doesn’t plan on bringing either of them back.
The remaining point guards on the roster are Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey. Stuckey is a good option off the bench, and Knight has yet to cement himself as the long-term starting point guard in Detroit. New head coach Maurice Cheeks said that he wouldn’t say Knight is just a point guard, according to David Mayo of MLive.com.
If Knight isn’t going to shoot better than 40.7 percent from the field and score more than 13.3 points per game in 31.5 minutes, he’s not going to be a starter either. If the Pistons wind up drafting Burke, the starting job immediately goes to him. Knight can come off the bench or start at shooting guard if he earns the job.
Burke will shine in the Piston’s offense because he’ll be the primary scoring option, like he was at Michigan. This past season, the former Wolverine averaged 18.6 points in 35.3 minutes per game. Oh, and he was the National College Basketball Player of the Year. The kid was a star at Michigan and will be a star in the NBA.
But that’s only if he goes to Detroit, where he’ll be able to take the shots he wants without having to give the ball to a star half the time he dribbles down the court. He knows how to find his teammates, but it’s not like Greg Monroe or Andre Drummond are going to be looking to score 20-plus points per night.
Burke will be playing with an up-and-coming frontcourt for several years, as Monroe and Drummond are only going to get better. He’ll have those two options underneath if he can’t find the shot he wants. He can also try to have Cheeks implement a lot of pick-and-roll action that’ll benefit the point guard.
In Detroit, the options are basically limitless for Burke.
A bit of an X-factor in this situation is Cheeks. Cheeks was never one of the top coaches in the NBA, but he did coach one of the best point guards to ever play the game: Allen Iverson. Cheeks was Iverson’s coach for five-plus seasons back with Philadelphia.
If Cheeks can take anything he learned from Iverson’s development in order to aid Burke’s transition into the NBA, the former Michigan guard would certainly be in good shape. Cheeks’ firsthand experiences with a player of Iverson’s ability are an advantage that Burke will have over other prospects in this year’s draft.
Burke likely won’t have the career that Iverson had, but if he goes to the Pistons, the future is certainly bright. He’ll have a good surrounding cast and an experienced coach. He’ll be going to a franchise in need of a face.
Burke will be Detroit’s guy, and Detroit will be Burke’s team.