Draft Projection: No. 6: New Orleans Pelicans
Notes: Insider Only
Positives: Insider Only
Negatives: Insider Only
Summary: June 26 Update: Burke was the college basketball player of the year and might be, along with Porter, the best player in the draft. He does just about everything well on the basketball court and plays with a moxie that coaches love in their point guards. If he were a little taller or a little quicker he'd be a lot higher.
Quick fact: Burke turned the ball over on 8.2 percent of his pick-and-roll plays, the second-lowest rate in the nation last season (min. 100 plays).
June 25 Update: Here's where things really get tricky. If Otto Porter or Alex Len still are here at No. 6, I believe the Pelicans will draft either one. If both players are off the board, the team has to move on to Plan B. Although Anthony Bennett might be tempting, the Pelicans do need depth at the point guard position, and would be hard-pressed to let Burke slide.
June 24 Update: This vote four our Secret NBA Draft Big Board shows the split in NBA circles on Burke. While some believe he'll be a star, others think he's going to be just an average player at the next level. Burke has moved off his status as the consensus No. 1 point guard in the draft and is now an eye-of-the-beholder type of player. Burke's range on draft night appears to be 6 to 14.
June 18 Update: The Pistons are hoping, for a third year in a row, that one of the top seven players on the board slides to them on draft night. However, it the draft holds true to form, look for them to try to address their backcourt at No. 8. The team believes Brandon Knight is more suited to play the 2 and would like to bring in a "pure" point guard to run the team. While Burke is a little undersized, he's highly skilled as both a shooter and a penetrator and has great leadership capabilities. C.J. McCollum and Cody Zeller also are possibilities here, especially if both Burke and Carter-Williams are off the board.
June 10 Update: Burke is in a similar position to McLemore. After riding an NCAA tournament run into the championship game, he's struggling right now to retain his momentum. He worked out for the Suns on Thursday and the Kings on Friday, but only did a solo workout -- refusing to go against Michael Carter-Williams and C.J. McCollum, the two other top-rated point guards. From what I can gather, the Kings' ownership is higher right now on Carter-Williams. If Burke gets past the Magic and Pelicans, he could be in for an unexpected slide on draft night.
May 28 Update: Perhaps the shine Burke received from Michigan's deep tournament run is starting to wear off. Burke's athletic testing results highlighted what many NBA scouts have feared, that he lacks the lateral quickness usually associated with elite NBA point guards. The Magic and Pelicans are both really interested, but if both go in a different direction, he could slide out of the top 10.
May 20 Update: Burke has plenty of moxie to his game. And his measurements -- 6-foot-1.25 in shoes with a 6-5.5 wingspan -- were solid numbers for a NBA point guard.
Burke is roughly the same size as current NBA point guards Eric Bledsoe, Raymond Felton and Jeff Teague, but he's also taller than Chris Paul and Kemba Walker.
However, athletically, Burke's just not quite on the same level with any of those guys. His vertical jump numbers were on par (Burke measured a 36.5 inches max vertical), yet his lane agility numbers were the worst of that group (11.09 seconds).
Athletically, he seems the closest to Teague, who posted similar vert scores and was just slightly faster in the lane agility testing.
Will Burke's so-so showing hurt his cause?
"I don't think so," one GM said. "It's not what you'd hope, but if you watched him all year you knew he didn't just blow by guys. He's crafty, and he uses his strength and change of speed to get where he wants to go. It will be harder at the next level, but I think he'll be OK."
May 15 Update: Burke also is unlikely to participate in the drills section of the combine. However, given how extensively Burke has been scouted over the past two seasons, it's hard to believe we'd learn anything new about him.
The two keys for Burke will be measurements and athletic testing. Clearing the 6-foot red line would give a small boost to his draft stock. So would solid numbers on the athletic testing. While Burke is quick, he doesn't appear as fast or as explosive as most of the elite point guards in the NBA. Great scores at the combine could really help things.
May 8 Update (Projected No. 5, Pelicans): Burke certainly will get a look as the potential No. 1 pick if the Magic draft there. The other team that seems to fit Burke are the Pelicans. Yes, Greivis Vasquez is coming off a breakout season, but Burke is a totally different player and could complement Vazquez coming off the bench early on. The Pelicans' other big need is at small forward. Shabazz Muhammad could get a look here. So could Croatia's Dario Saric. Sources say that the Pelicans are one of the two or three strongest suitors for Saric at the moment.
May 2 Update: More and more GMs are getting on the Burke bandwagon as a potential No. 1 pick. For the first time, I've heard GMs make the case why he might be the No. 1 pick for the Magic, Kings, Pelicans and Jazz. I think he's still a bit of a long shot, but the momentum is clearly in his favor at the moment.
Apr 14 Update: Burke declared for the 2013 NBA Draft. Burke seriously flirted with entering the draft last year but ultimately decided to come back to school after being projected as a second-round pick. What a great decision. He led his team to the NCAA championship game, won the Naismith player of the year award and pushed his draft stock from bubble first-rounder to top-10 pick. Although Burke doesn't have great size or the athleticism of some of the other elite point guards in the NBA, he has an incredible basketball IQ, can really shoot, rarely turns the ball over and makes those around him better. He should go somewhere in the top seven and will be the first or second point guard off the board.
Apr 2 Update: Burke, who was battling a stomach virus all weekend, played the game of his career on Friday, a 87-85 overtime stunner against Kansas. After going 0-for-4 in the first half, Burke put Michigan on his back, scored 23 points in the second half and hit a huge, NBA-range 3 with a hand in his face to force overtime. It was a virtuoso performance that had scouts and GMs alike raving after the game.
General managers love point guards who are winners, and Burke's never-say-die attitude against Kansas was impressive. He looked exhausted Sunday but still found a way to help push Michigan past Florida and into the Final Four. His biggest test of the season might be Saturday against Syracuse and 6-foot-6 point guard Michael Carter-Williams. If Burke can find a way to carve up the Orange's long, athletic zone, it's possible he'll move up another few notches on our Big Board.
Mar 26 Update: Burke has been as efficient as any guard in the country this season. However, in his last three games, he's struggled a bit with his jumper. He shot 8-for-22 against Wisconsin in a loss in the Big Ten tournament, went just 2-for-12 from the field in an opening-round win against South Dakota State and then had a better 6-for-14 shooting night in a huge win against VCU. He also had a season-high seven turnovers against the Rams' pressure defense.
So how did he rise three spots on our board? Because every scout I spoke with was so impressed with his poise, toughness and leadership ability despite the tough games. Most common comment I've heard from NBA GMs this week is "Trey Burke is the real deal." If he can lead Michigan past Kansas and probably Florida to the Final Four, he's got a shot to leapfrog a few more guys on the Big Board and get into the top 5 or 6 in this draft.
Mar 13 Update: Burke is pushing hard to be the second point guard off the board. His hyperefficient play -- as a scorer and as a passer -- has caught everyone's eye. If he were a little more athletic, I think we'd see a lot of Chris Paul in the type of game he plays. However, without the elite athletic ability, he probably can't catch Marcus Smart as the best point guard pro prospect in the draft.
Feb 27 Update: Burke continues to be the most efficient point guard in the country and a very legit candidate for player of the year. He was insanely efficient against Illinois on Sunday, shooting eight for 11 from the field and handing out eight assists to just one turnover. If he were a few inches taller or just a little more explosive of an athlete, he'd be a lock for the top five.
Jan 28 Update: Burke is making a strong case to be the national player of the year. His college stats are stellar: 17.8 points and 7.2 assists per game while shooting 50 percent from the field and 38 percent from 3-point range. Additionally, 30 percent of Burke's possessions end in an assist, compared to just 7 percent of his possessions ending in a turnover. That's remarkable. He's got the perfect balance between scoring and helping others, and he plays almost mistake-free basketball. If he were a little taller (he's 6-foot) or more of an explosive athlete, he'd be ranked even higher. However, Burke is slowly creeping up to the lottery range in this year's draft and current sits at No. 16 in our Top 100.
Dec 14 Update: Burke was a surprise story last season. Recruiting services weren't in love with him, and he wasn't expected to have the impact he had on the Wolverines as a freshman. Burke strongly flirted with declaring for the draft last year but eventually returned to Michigan once he realized he'd be a second-round pick. This year? He has improved his numbers across the board, is the heart and soul of the No. 3 team in the country and is being mentioned as perhaps the best point guard in college basketball. His lack of elite size will keep him from being a lottery pick, but he is firmly planted in the first round.
Dec 10 Update: Burke has almost doubled his assist-to-turnover ratio this season (to nearly 3-1) while improving his shooting percentages across the board. Burke is more of a late-first-round NBA prospect because of his lack of ideal size (6-0, 190), but as far as college point guards, he's as important to his team as any point guard in the country.
Oct 25 Update: Burke was a major surprise as a freshman. His combination of strength, shooting prowess and his ability to get to the basket all impressed scouts last season. He showed solid court vision and tons of poise.
His lack of size and, at times, a lack of intensity are the biggest questions surrounding him now. So are higher expectations. Last season, scouts didn't see him coming. Everything they got was gravy. Now, the anticipation is much greater. He's going to have to cut down on the turnovers and shoot a higher percentage from the floor to re-crack the first round range of the 2013 draft.
Apr 9 Update: Burke is coming off a terrific freshman season. He played like a true floor general all year and wasn't afraid to take the big shot for his team when they needed it. There is a dearth of true point guards in the college ranks next season, look for Burke to be a potential first round pick in 2012.
Nov 25 Update: Burke was another player that wasn't on many draft boards going into Maui. By the time he left, he was on everyone's. Burke isn't a special athlete and he lacks ideal size for his position, so what's the buzz about? He played with amazing poise, got all of his teammates involved and hit big shots from all over the floor. Burke looked the part of a future NBA backup point guard as a freshman playing in the first month of his career. If he can continue to improve, he's a possible first-round prospect down the road.