At the onset of free agency I would have expected Trey Burke to command more than a minimum deal, but with him still on the market, it feels more possible. And although I think he would rather sign elsewhere and not be the 15th man, I believe he could fill the Napier role of a year ago quite well.
Burke has struggled to firmly latch onto a roster since being selected in the top 10 of the 2013 NBA draft. He is undersized at 6-1 and is not too strong at 175 pounds, which leads to him being a defensive liability. In his past three seasons, his teams have posted defensive ratings of at least 114+ with him on the floor.
Even with his clear deficiencies, Burke still shows a few defined skills. First, he can score the basketball and shoot relatively efficiently. In the last three seasons, Burke has shot at least 35 percent from downtown. He has scored at least 15 points per 36 minutes in four of the past five years while hitting a rate of over 20 points per 36 the past two seasons.
But the most intriguing aspect of Burke’s game is his ability to run the pick-and-roll. With Russell running the show last year and Irving stepping into his place, Kenny Atkinson’s offense has been and will likely continue to feature a steady diet of pick-and-rolls.
Kyrie scored nearly a point per possession in pick-and-rolls as the ball handler, which was good for the 85th percentile across the league (just in front of Dinwiddie).
Obviously, Burke had fewer opportunities but actually scored more points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball handler than both of those guys. Slotting him in as a third point guard who could play the role of the spark plug, or even more than that if Irving or Dinwiddie were to be unavailable, would be a strong pickup.