Largely considered a throw in piece in the Kristaps Porzingis mega deal, Trey Burke’s stint in Dallas was nothing other than a glowing success. Burke’s career has taken many twists and turns since leading Michigan to the NCAA title game, and he hasn’t quite gained any footing since being drafted ninth overall in the 2013 draft, but his Mavericks’ tenure showed resiliency and perseverance as he played for another NBA contract.
Burke’s NBA career was on life support when he arrived in New York in 2017, but he played himself into the rotation after a strong G League performance and steady play as a reserve guard. Burke continued the momentum in Dallas, stepping into a void left by J.J. Barea’s injury and providing instant offense off the bench with the second unit.
In 25 games with the Mavericks, the five-year veteran played 17 minutes per night and averaged 9.7 points and 2.6 assists while shooting 46 percent from the field and 36 percent from three. The numbers are fairly unassuming, but his per-36 averages paint a better picture of Burke’s impact in the minutes he was given. Per 36 minutes the reserve guard pumped in 20 points and dished out 5.4 assists per night with the Mavericks. Burke was one of 14 bench players in the league to reach 20 points and five assists per 36 minutes.
Burke’s impact on the Mavericks was undeniable. His 13.9 net rating differential as well as his 111.4 offensive rating both led the team in their respective categories.
One of Burke’s best games as a Maverick came on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He poured in 25 points while shooting 56 percent (and connected on four of his eight triples) and passed out eight assists with zero turnovers. Burke displayed much of what made him highly touted out of Michigan. He was able to knife his way to the basket at will while also keeping the defense honest with his three-point stroke.
Burke completed the second year of a two-year, $2.5 million deal making him an unrestricted free agent this summer.
It’s hard to gauge the Mavericks interest in Burke considering the front office’s affinity for Barea and Devin Harris. Additionally, the emergence of Jalen Brunson and a summer with cap space cloud the situation further. What we do know is the 26-year-old has earned himself a pay day and there will be no hard feelings should the Mavericks throw out an offer and Burke decline to play elsewhere for more money or a larger opportunity.
If the Mavericks were to ink a deal with Burke, his fit off the bench would remain seamless. Last season he ranked in the 92nd percentile of pick-and-roll ball handlers, he sported a measly 6.7 percent turnover rate and had the second highest assist-to-turnover ratio on the Mavericks at 3.25.
Whether it’s in Dallas or somewhere else, it’s easy to root for Burke, and it’s a safe bet to assume he’ll continue to keep his NBA dream alive.