The New York Knicks are supposedly hoping Trae Young falls to them in the 2018 NBA Draft this summer. While it’s a possibility, the Knicks would be wise to pass on the high-volume scorer from Oklahoma. According to Bleacher Report, Young has declared for the draft, but the Knicks don’t need him thanks to Trey Burke.
Yes, Young is one of the most prolific scorers in college basketball; however, comparing what Burke has done in the NBA and G-League, what’s the difference?
How many 27-point scorers in college basketball have come into the NBA and done the same? Not saying it can’t be done, but Young will have one heck of an uphill battle. For one, the Knicks already have scorers with Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. There will be no more of Young attempting 19 shots per game like he did while at Oklahoma. Not just a scorer, Young also led the NCAA in assists with 8.7 per game. It’s also worth noting, he was the Sooners’ everything. But still, what about Burke?
Burke excelled at Michigan, and while not a great scorer like Young, he sure had his moments. But this is where the comparisons start to look similar. Take what Burke did in the G-League and compare that to what Young did in college. I know what you’re thinking — that’s the G-League and that’s college, and the level of competition is not the same. Sorry to tell you, but in a way it is. The majority of the players in the G-League are former college players who didn’t make it in the NBA. So, a vast majority of players that Young burned while at Oklahoma will end up with the Westchester Knicks, South Bay Lakers, or some other team in the league.
During his time in Westchester, Burke lit the league up for 26.6 points and 5.3 assists per game while shooting 49 percent from the floor (including 42 percent from three-point range). Young, while at Oklahoma, averaged 27.7 points and 8.7 assists while shooting 42 percent from the floor (including 36 percent from three-point range). Both are high-volume scorers, but will Trae Young be able to translate his scoring to the NBA game like Burke has?
One of the Knicks’ issues has been the point guard position, and that was true before Burke arrived. The Knicks were stuck with Frank Ntilikina, Jarrett Jack, and Ramon Sessions. Well, Sessions has been let go, and the Knicks traded for Emmanuel Mudiay then called up Burke from the G-League.
Trae Young fans will look at his scoring and say that’s what the Knicks need but not look at Burke and say the same. Since coming to the Knicks, Burke has averaged just 10.5 points per game and 3.6 assists while shooting 51 percent from the floor (including 38 percent from three-point range). Not All-Star numbers, but when you’re playing on a team with two other point guards vying for time, there’s not much you can do.
Burke averages just 8.8 shots per game in 17 minutes per. Burke is the Knicks’ volume scorer off the bench, pretty much the same role Young will play in the NBA. The difference is, Young will garner more minutes due to his draft stock while Burke has to play behind players he’s superior to until the Knicks fire Jeff Hornacek. According to Basketball-Reference, if Burke were to play an average of 36 minutes per game, he would average 22.2 points and 7.6 assists while shooting 51 percent from the floor. I know, anyone could have good numbers if they played 36 minutes per, but Burke could really explode with an increased role with the Knicks.
Young is a special talent, but the Knicks already have that with Burke. The issue is, Hornacek has failed to grasp that.