By Ryan Nguyen
Trey Burke was once the Utah Jazz’s point guard of the future. But in the summer of 2016, the Jazz finally gave up on their 2013 lottery pick, sending him to Washington for a second-round choice after three forgettable seasons. A year later, he found himself toiling in the G-League, playing before a couple thousand fans at the Westchester County Center in the New York City suburbs, just hoping to earn another NBA shot.
Some players might have taken that situation as an invitation to give up. Instead, Burke fought for a second chance. He dominated the G-League, averaging 26.6 ppg and 5.3 apg, which finally led the Knicks to call him up in January. What followed was a shocking course correction. Burke averaged 12.8 ppg and 4.7 apg for the Knicks—figures that rose to 15.9 ppg and 5.8 apg after the All-Star break, when he started getting consistent playing time. He shot over 50% from the field, posted a PER of 21.1 and lit up the Hornets for 42 points and 12 assists in late March.