Bucking Broncho: Knicks Burke Up the Right Tree
New York Knicks guard Trey Burke (23) looks to pass the ball as he gets by Orlando Magic forward Mario Hezonja (8) during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 3, 2018, at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Magic won 97-73. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Easter Sunday: where kids ruin their Sunday’s best, go Easter egg hunting, open up their Easter baskets, then end the celebration with a non-fatal sugar coma. Although this is how most Easters are celebrated, one man celebrated it not quite like anyone else. New York Knicks point guard Trey Burke has taken the holiday to the next level by embodying it through his basketball career.
Burke’s NBA career seemed like it was coming to a close after last season, where he averaged five points and under two assists for the Washington Wizards. It seemed odd to most basketball fans that the ending of Burke’s basketball story would finish like this, after his storied college career. Burke may have played two seasons at Michigan, but he helped build the program to where it is today and without him they probably wouldn’t make this year’s national championship game. In his first year as a Wolverine, Burke made his name known, where he averaged 14 points and led his team to the NCAA tournament, but his sophomore season was where his college basketball legend was born.
Burke won the Naismith trophy his sophomore year, which is given to the best player in college basketball. He was the first Michigan basketball player to receive the honor. However, Burke’s biggest moment that year was in the NCAA tournament, where he had his one shining moment by hitting one of the biggest 3-pointer’s ever in the sweet sixteen against Kansas. Not only did he achieve individual honors, but he lead his team to the NCAA National Championship game for the first time since the “Fab Five” in 1993.
After his sophomore season, Burke declared for the NBA draft and was selected by the Utah Jazz with the ninth pick. Burke showed potential his rookie year and finished third in rookie of the year voting averaging 12 points and 5 assists. His play began to digress after his rookie season, which led the Jazz to trade him to the Washington Wizards.
“That Trey Burke — there was a lot of distractions going on with that Trey Burke,’’ Burke recently told CBS Sports. “That Trey Burke was 19 years old. This Trey Burke now, I’m married, I’m in the house, I’m not worried about things that a lot of players worry about.”
His poor play last year led Burke to start the season out of the NBA and play in the NBA’s developmental G-league for the Westchester Knicks. Burke chose to sign with the Knicks in the off-season because he knew he could go to the G-league and rebuild his career.
The decision paid off for Burke and then some, where he averaged 26 points and took full advantage of what seemed to be one of his last chances to show why he was an NBA player. Burke’s stellar play helped get him called up to the New York Knicks in January.
Two weeks ago, Burke got his chance to shine on the Knicks and with it he began to take the NBA by storm, averaging 18 points and six assists in the last ten games. The New York Knicks haven’t seen a point guard take the city by storm like this since Jeremy Lin.
Burke had his best NBA game in his career last week, where he scored a career high 42 points with 12 assists. He was the first player to score 40 points and ten assists for the Knicks since Stephon Marbury in 2005. Burke’s play has had NBA fans draw the comparison between him and Allen Iverson, after his new look braids and the way he has been playing as a starter.
The last two weeks, Burke has taken his career from being on life support to heights it has never been before and has made his name the talk of basketball once again. Burke may have been able to revive his career, but his next challenge may be the toughest he ever faces – bringing the Knicks to prominence.