Dallas Mavericks: Trey Burke figuring out his role in Dallas

Dallas Mavericks Trey Burke (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks Trey Burke (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Dallas Mavericks guard Trey Burke looks comfortable and the coaching staff is trusting his abilities.

Dallas Mavericks guard Trey Burke having massive moments in the playoffs is surprising to some. It has not been an easy journey for him in the NBA. After being selected ninth overall in the 2013 draft and playing out his rookie contract, Burke has been in and out of the league.

Generally, he is brought in by mediocre teams to replace injured players late in the season. On this occasion, it was the Dallas Mavericks. They were hit by injuries and needed to add depth before entering the bubble.

Burke was joining an underrated team fighting for a deep playoff run. It also was not his first time in a Mavs uniform. He had another stint in Dallas last year, so he was already familiar with his teammates and the coaching staff.

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Trey Burke hitting the ground running with the Dallas Mavericks

This time around, Burke has found his footing in the system and is proving a major contributor to the team. After an explosive 31-point start in the bubble, he averaged 12.0 points and 3.8 assists per during the eight seeding games while shooting 43.2 percent from 3-point range.

With Jalen Brunson out for the rest of the season, Burke has been appointed the backup point guard role behind Luka Doncic. That means scoring and making the offense function.

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle had this to say about Trey Burke on Aug. 21.

"“He’s an NBA scorer who busts his butt on defense.”"

The head coach trusted him from day one and told him to be who he was on the court.

Looks like this time Burke could be here to stay. He carved his role in the team and his contribution is proving vital. After an awful game one, Burke bounced back to average 13 points in just 17 minutes of action over the next two.

He received the starting nod in game four with Kripstaps Porzingis out. Burke immediately caught fire, scoring the Mavs’ first five points. He had 15 in the first half. Burke finished with 25 points, five rebounds, and two steals. The 27-year-old hit four of five from 3-point range and was a game-high 17 in plus/minus.

What has changed with Dallas Mavericks guard Trey Burke?

The 6’0 point guard has become the Mavericks sixth man. He comes off the bench to score in bunches. He is a very useful one, both as a reliable replacement of superstar Doncic when he needs to rest, and as a scorer who leads the bench group and creates easy opportunities for a less talented unit.

He is obviously most effective with the ball in his hands. That makes Burke a perfect for Carlisle’s free-flow offense. In short, he should fill that Lou Williams role, who, coincidentally, he is currently facing in the playoffs and is often assigned to guard.

Burke has constantly been considered a defensive liability. That is part of the reason he has been bouncing around the league. But as of now, he is showing a renewed commitment on that end of the floor. Although it may be beyond his capabilities.

Defense is not just a matter of commitment as many like to believe. It takes physical, neuromotor, and mental abilities that not everyone has. You must be built to be a defender. If not in possession of those gifts, it takes a big deal of application to be effective. That is what we are seeing from Burke.

Based on what he has done for the team in the bubble, the Dallas Mavericks should re-sign Burke next season. He would be an effective sixth man at a cheap price.

It would remain to be seen how things develop with the return of Brunson. The sophomore had taken over the backup point guard duty from J.J. Barea before his injury. Brunson was producing well. Some concerns could arise on how rotations and roles are balanced by Carlisle once both healthy and available.

Whether they decide to bring him back next season or not, Trey Burke has definitely made a case for himself inside the Walt Disney World bubble.

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