New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek is loving what new point guard Trey Burke brings to the table on a nightly basis, especially in contrast to Jarrett Jack and Frank Ntilikina.
The Michigan product has played in just six games with the Knicks, since his call-up from Westchester of the G-League, but has impacted the court with a noticeable vibe impossible to ignore, via Anthony Rieber of Newsday.
“The game changes a bit when he’s out there,” Hornacek said. “With him, [Kristaps Porzingis] and shooters, we feel good about that group being out there. He’s got the ability to get us some easy looks on the pick-and-roll, saw he’s able to drive around big guys when they did switch. It puts pressure on the defense.”
The Knicks sideline boss then explained how the quick pick-and-roll-centric point guard blends with the other two showrunners on the roster.
“It’s kind of that game-to-game situation,” Hornacek said. “They all lend something different. It’s not like we can say, ‘Well, one guy is not doing this or not doing that.’ We know what they’re capable of doing. Jarrett does a great job at times running our team and keeping us controlled. Frank has had good moments offensively when he’s hit big threes for us late in games. We like his defense. And Trey, we like his ability to get in the lane and create some havoc that way. So it’s tough sometimes, but maybe it settles at some point. Trey just got here what, a week and a half ago? We’re still trying to work on it.”
Burke, 25, is averaging 9.3 points and 3.8 assists per game while shooting an incredibly efficient .615 from the floor in just six games. For his career, the former No. 9 overall pick showcases a stat-line of 10.6 points and 3.6 assists per contest.
When he’s on the court, the squad looks quicker and is afforded the opportunity to take advantage of mismatches due to his dominance in the pick-and-roll game—a part of the NBA in 2018 that literally dominates offensive basketball.
Jack is a nice vet and young Ntilikina is, by far, the best defender of the three, but Burke is the guy who has the chance to get the most out of young Kristaps Porzingis. Pairing those two on the pick-and-roll could create nightmares for 29 NBA franchises.
It’s now up to Hornacek to allow that pair a chance to flourish.