Trey Burke is rising to the occasion. Over his last two games, the veteran point guard has seen his number called and received extended playing time. His contributions have helped the Dallas Mavericks notch two needed wins.
Burke hasn’t had a lot of opportunities on the court this season. Yet, despite the potential difficulties of not seeing a lot of minutes, Burke stays ready because head coach Jason Kidd could call his number any given night.
“I always talk about just staying prepared,” Burke said. “Over the years in some situations, I am playing a lot and at times I am not playing as much. So, for me, it is just staying ready, staying prepared.”
Tuesday night, against the Detroit Pistons, Burke came off the bench and played 21 minutes–his most in a game since December 21. He made the most of it, scoring 18 points on 58.3 percent shooting. His four made three-pointers tied a season-high.
In the Mavericks’ previous game against the Atlanta Hawks, a 103-94 victory for Dallas, Burke saw 15 minutes of action. He chipped in seven points on 42.9 percent from the field.
“I mean, it’s great to have him,” Luka Doncic said. “He’s always ready and sometimes he doesn’t play. He’s always ready and he always gives 100 percent when he’s out there, and we just appreciate having him.”
While Burke says it can be frustrating not being on the floor and contributing and helping the team, he sticks to a routine to keep himself physically and mentally ready. Long hours in the gym are part of his daily life.
“Patience is also a virtue,” Burke says. “You have to continue to stay at it every day. Keep working. Me and Sham [God Shammgod] work every day. I come back at nights. The opportunity will present itself if you prepare.”
His teammates see his preparation and the work he puts in daily. While his recent performances may stand out in the box score to fans, they don’t surprise the other 15 guys sitting with him on the bench.
“We see what he can do,” Jalen Brunson said. “Me and Trey play a lot of one-on-one together and I know what he can do. It’s nothing new to us. I’m happy for him, but we know what he’s capable of.”
Burke stepped up and seized the opportunity when the Mavericks needed his effort in the last two games. He was able to do so because of his ability to remain true to himself and the trust his teammates have in him.
“My teammates know what I bring to the team,” Burke said. “I try to come out here and be myself–try not to be anyone else.”