BREAKDOWN—Burke and MCW in midst of rookie doldrums

Tonight, two struggling teams with two struggling rookie point guards will go head to head. The 9th pick of a poor draft (Trey Burke) is at the helm for the Jazz, and the 11th pick (Michael Carter-Williams) is at the controls for the Sixers.

Both of them have been scuffling. Here is a breakdown of Burke and MCW for the last five, 10 and 20 games.

Note: League average EFG% is 50 (weighs 3-point shots) and True Shooting% is 52.7 (accounts for 3-pointers and FTs).

burke and mcw last 5 10 20How concerned should Jazz and Sixers fans be about their struggling point guards? For the season, Burke has an EFG% of 43.5 and MCW has an EFG% of 42.4. In True Shooting % MCW is better (he goes to the line more) at 47.6% and Burke is 46.5%.

Using these two metrics, I ran a basketball-reference search on rookie guards who played at least 20 minutes a game and had an EFG% below 44 and a True Shooting % below 48 over the past 20 years.

40 players come up.

burke mcw rookie top 20

burke mcw rookie next 20The next list I did was the same search, but I eliminated the rookie element and entered 22 years and younger. Michael Carter-Williams is 22 years old and research says the older the player/rookie the less developmental growth.

burke mcw under 22 1st 20

burke mcw under 22 next groupThese players cover a vast spectrum.

The following point guards over the past 20 years have had similar beginnings to Burke and Michael Carter Williams: Jason Kidd, Rajon Rondo, Brandon Jennings, Kemba Walker, Mookie Blaylock, Jamaal Tinsley, Shaun Livingston, TJ Ford, Sebastian Telfair, Dajuan Wagner, Bobby Hurley, Mark Macon, Speedy Claxton, Brian Shaw, Gary Grant and Antionio Daniels.

The common thread in all of these is they were early draft picks who got lots of opportunities on mostly bad teams. Jason Kidd turned into a Hall of Famer, Rajon Rondo has been an All-Star. Jennings and Walker are still developing, and the rest of the group had a hard time establishing themselves as starting point guards in the NBA.

Tough circumstances for both Burke and MCW to enter the league. Traditionally, first-year numbers of point guards aren’t always the best indicators of future performance. Will be interesting to watch these two as their careers are intertwined by draft position.

Here are the links to the searches – this is the first search:

Here is the second search:

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz end Rockets 5 game win streak


  • The kid was really special tonight.  I delayed writing this for a moment because I don’t want to be too over the top about Trey.   Both the Rockets broadcaster after the game told me how impressed they were with Trey.   He is legit.   He has the it factor.    He isn’t afraid and more than that he wants to make the great play.   The drive over Howard tonight was absurd.   He changes everything about this team and he changes everything for the other players on the team.
  • May I temper the enthusiasm for a quick moment.  This was a great match-up with two very small point guards.  The scouting report is not out on him yet.  Teams will start to react.  Teams will start playing bigger players on him.  Teams will start to tax him defensively and he will go though some struggles.  The road is not going to be without some bumps.  With all of that said what we have seen in his opening few games tells us he is a special kid and he has a very bright future.
  • Jazz are 3-2 with Trey starting.  He has 1 turnover in 89 minutes
  • Tyrone Corbin kept telling us and telling us that what they were asking Alec Burks to do was unfair.  That putting the ball in his hand was not his strength and got him out of his game.  The last two nights when playing with Trey he was able to attack the basket, play in a rhythm, play without the ball and he was terrific on the offensive end.  He still made three or four defensive plays that have to drive coaches insane.   Plays that were the complete opposite of the game plan from shootaround.   That will get better as he matures and if he plays like this on offense the coaches will be able to deal with those a little more than otherwise.
  • Gordon Hayward got going tonight.  The Rockets wanted to hide James Harden on Richard Jefferson and when they couldn’t do that Hayward killed Harden and had 19 points in the first quarter.   Hayward got matched against arguably the worst defensive player in the NBA and took advantage.  That is huge to get him back on track.  This was the night he needed and gives him the confidence to get out of the next slump.
  • Worth taking a look to see how many of Hayward’s field goals were assisted.  You can do it on the box scores.  That is awesome.
  • Who had a bigger impact on the game tonight Derrick Favors or Dwight Howard?  I didn’t think Howard had that big an impact and I know Favors was a better offensive player tonight.
  • The Rockets didn’t hit a three in the third quarter.
  • Game was tied at 86 the exact same as the other night in Phoenix and for the second straight game the Jazz out played a good team to close out with a win.  23-17 to close over the final 8:00.  With 6:00 left Corbin went to the closing five of Burke, Burks, Hayward, Marvin and Favors.   Trey missed back to back shots and the Jazz looked like they might be in trouble.   Then Favors hot a huge offensive rebound, then Jazz got two more offensive rebounds on the next possession by Favors and Marvin, and it lead to a Favors layup on a sick give from Burke.  Burke then hit the driving layup over Howard.  The key play came when Harden threw a pass to Casppi that he wasn’t ready for and Marvin stole it for a dunk.  Jazz by 5.  Burks hit another driving layup.  To keep it at 5 with 1:38 left and Marvin clinched on a gorgeous three after hawyard gave up a three after Burke had kept his dribble alive to make the play.
  • Clutch play late.
  • These wins are huge.  They are still going  to be hard to come by this year but these push this team forward and help them enjoy playing the game.  They had lost that for a while.

INSIDER – Thoughts on the Pelicans

Here are some quick thoughts on the Pelicans.

Pelicans got a good win against Philadelphia in their last game prior to that they have been struggling with losses to Phoenix, the Lakers and the Jazz. 
Ryan Anderson returned their last game and hit 6 threes and that will spread the offense more for a struggling Tyreke Evans.

Tyreke Evans is shooting the three less since going to New Orleans and is taking less efficient shots than he did in Sacramento and has been much less efficient .

Jrue Holiday was picked up in the off season but he has been turnover prone.

Monty Williams defense continues to be a major struggle last year 28th  The Jazz exploited them in the Pick n roll late in the game in Salt Lake City. Jazz strung the Pelicans big man 30 feet away from the basket creating a five on four on the backside of those pick and rolls.

The bright spot for the pelicans is Anthony Davis is big time and ready to roll.