It’s Time for the Utah Jazz to Prioritize Dante Exum over Trey Burke

To say Trey Burke‘s in a sophomore slump would almost be an insult to the phrase.

His numbers have tragically bottomed out through roughly one-fifth of the season, and he’s been thoroughly outplayed by backup Dante Exum, who’s already proven he deserves the bulk of the minutes at the point.

It’s been tough to watch Burke this season, and not just from the standpoint of a writer or fan. He’s gone from savior to scapegoat for this franchise in just over a year.

This was the general sentiment when he was drafted in the summer of 2013.

This is now.

And the change didn’t come without reason. Through just over one season’s worth of games, he’s barely looked like an NBA player. The eye test says he’s too small and not athletic enough.

Friday night, the Golden State Warriors trounced the Jazz, 101-88. In a 13-point loss, Burke was a team-worst minus-28. Exum was plus-15.

Golden State did what almost every other opponent has: Put Burke on an island—in the post, on the perimeter, whatever—and go to work.

And that’s just on defense. The numbers tell the story on the other end, where he’s rarely able to create an even decent look for himself.

In his first season, the numbers were rough (as you just saw), but there were at least flashes of solid IQ and playmaking ability. Maybe he could one day morph into a pass-first 1 like Andre Miller or Kendall Marshall.

But in year 2, Burke is still trying to be a scoring guard. And the picture gets even uglier when compared to what Exum‘s doing.

In all honesty, this is what should be happening. Exum is clearly the higher-upside asset. It’s unquestionable. Tune into any Jazz game and you’ll see it for yourself. Exum is taller, longer and more athletic. Plus, his vision and IQ are way ahead of schedule.

Obviously, there are still things to work out with Exum. His catch-and-shoot game has been better than expected, but his dribble pull-up is a mess. He’s yet to make a single shot off the dribble outside of 10 feet.

He gets out of position at times defensively, but he has the length and quickness to recover. Just imagine what he can do once he irons out those fundamentals.

He can also tighten up his handle a bit, even though he’s figured out that keeping things simple generally helps him stay out of trouble.

Thing is, the learning process could be accelerated by playing Exum more minutes with the first unit. There’s a theory in basketball that’s akin to exposure therapy. Just like you can help people with a fear of heights by taking them to the Empire State Building, a basketball player can adapt in difficult circumstances.

The skyscraper is a controlled environment. There are security guards and really tall fences. You’re not going to fall off. While playing with the starters, Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors can be Exum‘s safety net as he truly adapts to the speed of the NBA.

The move is starting to come up among experts all over the NBA, but it’s a delicate process. Basketball Insiders’ Nate Duncan is worried what it would do to Burke.

ESPN’s Chad Ford has been asked about the debate as well. Twice, actually. In his weekly Q&A with SportsNation, Ford was asked, “When does Quin Snyder move Trey Burke to the bench in favor of Exum?”

He responded:

Great question. Exum, who was supposed to be the rawest of the lottery guys, has really outplayed him all year. In fact, Exum ranks second among all rookies in PER right now. And he’s going to get better. A lot better. It’s hard to watch that team with an objective eye and think Trey Burke is even in the same league as Exum as far as elite potential goes. Now, the Jazz may want to keep bringing him along slowly. There’s less pressure coming off the bench. But long-term? He’s going to be the Jazz’s starting PG. Combine him with Gordan Hayward and Derrick Favors, both of who have been excellent this year and the Jazz have a scary core for the future.

The next week, he went into the specifics on why Utah is hesitant to make the move:

I mentioned this last week and feel even stronger about it this week after talking to sources close to the Jazz. They know Exum is going to be amazing and quite possibly their franchise player. He’s not ready yet. He has to get stronger to handle all the contact he gets. But he’s got the tools, has the basketball IQ, has the work ethic to be GREAT. And his jump shot is dramatically improving. Fast forward two years and he’s likely Utah’s No. 1 option. But it’s early and I think they are erroring on the side of patience right now. He doesn’t need to be, nor is he ready to be THE guy right now. I think Burke might start the whole season. But by next year, or the year after, this will be Exum‘s team to run.

The question here isn’t whether or not Exum‘s ready to be the guy this season. That’s still Hayward, and to a lesser extent, Favors.

This is about who’s the better option to help the 2014-15 Utah Jazz win games. The numbers say it’s Exum. And he fits logistically.

He’s pass-first all the way, almost to a fault. That makes more sense with Hayward, Favors, Alec Burks and Enes Kanter, all of whom can score. With a second unit devoid of scorers, Exum‘s unselfishness can contribute to a stagnant attack.

Now, think about what the move does for Burke. Yes, there’s the fear that it negatively impacts his psyche, like Duncan pointed out, but it could also go the other way.

It could be difficult for him to accept at first. But after adapting, Burke could settle into the opportunity to be aggressive in a lineup that actually needs him to be, and against other players without top-tier physical tools.

All that said, there’s still no indication from within the organization that a lineup change is coming. So the most we can ask for now is more minutes, including some with the starters.

Exum is clearly the point guard of the future, and he’s earned more time to develop cohesion with the other core members of the team.

And if it means rewriting the next few months of Burke’s career from a tragedy to some kind of buddy-cop flick with his up-and-coming backup, even better.

 

Unless otherwise noted, all stats and salary figures are courtesy of NBA.com and Basketball-Reference.com, and are current as of Nov. 22, 2014.

Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him @AndrewDBailey.

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Kentucky Basketball: Will Trey Lyles’ Wing Play Fill in Wildcats’ Last Weakness?

Two games (or four if you’re willing to include exhibitions) is way too small a sample to make any great sweeping determinations about the relative worth of college basketball players. Of course, that never stops us from trying.

Kentucky’s absurd preponderance of talent invites constant scrutiny, as a machine blessed with so many high-performance parts can tantalize with the promise of ever-higher efficiency. Through two regular-season wins over Grand Canyon and Buffalo, that efficiency has waxed and waned for UK, but one player who’s delivered the mail so far has been freshman forward Trey Lyles.

On a team that lacks the prototypical slashing small forward, Lyles has played well on the second-string “white” platoon, backing up starter Alex Poythress as the nominal 3. Kentucky doesn’t have much in the way of weaknesses. If Lyles continues to offer the superior perimeter threat to Poythress that shores up the team’s most glaring personnel deficiency.

Through the Cats’ first two regular-season outings, Lyles has produced 26 points and eight rebounds, making 10 of his 15 shots from the floor. Four of his five misses have been on three-pointers, but he’s still made a pair of long jumpers for 33.3 percent accuracy. In the two exhibitions, Lyles’ production was very similar—11-of-20 shooting for 25 points and 12 rebounds.

By comparison, Poythress has produced 15 points, seven rebounds and two blocks while shooting only 42.9 percent (6-of-14) from the floor, 0-of-3 from three-point range. Both men have struggled with turnovers, with Poythress committing five to Lyles’ four.

According to KenPom.com (subscription required), Lyles has posted a sterling 132.8 offensive rating through two games. Poythress is scuffling along at 92.9.

Held out of the Wildcats’ summer games in the Bahamas as he recovered from a leg injury, Lyles was considered “behind” his teammates by countless analysts, including this one. If his performance to date is indicative of a man trailing on the learning curve, heaven help the opponents in wait when Lyles catches up.

Of course, everyone admits that he has some catching up to do. After the Cats’ exhibition opener against Pikeville, coach John Calipari said to CatsPause.com, “He ran up and down, got tired and when he went to jump, he just stepped in a hole. He didn’t jump very high.”

“The guys had a lot of conditioning during the summer and I didn’t partake in that,” Lyles said to the same site. “But now I’m going out there 100 percent and it’s getting better. Hopefully, I’ll be in top shape by the first game.”

Kentucky’s two-platoon system allows players to go all out while they’re on the court, knowing that they’re bound for no more than 25 minutes or so. Lyles has logged 37 minutes through the two wins, the same number he played in the exhibitions. Poythress has played 44.

That workload mitigates the conditioning concerns for now, but everyone still wants to play well in the early going. Opponents like the Antelopes and Bulls are auditions for heavy minutes in later encounters with elite competition like North Carolina, Louisville and Florida, games where the platoon system won’t be so strictly observed.

Poythress’ spot in the starting platoon may be in some jeopardy down the line, and there will be some games in which both men will be counterproductive in their roles.

ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg told the Lexington Herald-Leader‘s Jerry Tipton that against pressuring teams like Kansas, Louisville and Arkansas, “(Calipari’s) going to have to go with three perimeter players. You know, ‘real’ perimeter players. Not playing Lyles or Poythress at ’3.’”

When Kentucky trailed Buffalo by five points at halftime on Sunday, the platoon system was being widely eulogized across social media. In the first 50 seconds of the second stanza, Lyles resuscitated the system and jolted the Rupp Arena crowd to life with a three, steal and dunk to erase the Bulls’ lead. Doses of energy like that will make Lyles a crowd favorite and perhaps a coach’s favorite too.

Junior veteran Poythress has been through the ups and downs of the game, going from a first-round NIT flop as a freshman to the national title game as a sophomore. He knows what he needs to work on. The difficult part for him will be beating out an inexperienced player who still appears more comfortable in the role into which both have been thrust.

Whether Lyles ever cracks the starting five or not, he’s adding a perimeter game to the UK frontcourt that was allegedly missing before the season began. Whether he’s firing threes or attacking the rim, the freshman has overwhelmed competition he should be playing well against.

Now, the major test looms on Tuesday when the Wildcats travel to Indianapolis to battle Kansas. It could be Trey Lyles’ national coming-out party.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/11/10/3531740/despite-its-amountof-talent-history.html#storylink=cpy

Read more College Basketball news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – College Basketball

Trey Burke breaks Knicks’ hearts in final seconds

The Utah Jazz guard delivers the dagger.

      
 

 

View full post on USATODAY – NBA Top Stories

Trey Burke Reminds Knicks They’re Doomed and Other NBA Takeaways

Just when it looked like a stroke of good fortune had graced the New York Knicks (2-8), Trey Burke sent a stern reminder: They’re still the New York Knicks. 

After Carmelo Anthony banked in an improbable game-tying three-pointer with just over two seconds remaining in regulation, Burke sucked the air out of Madison Square Garden with a heroic fallaway jumper from the corner to hand the Utah Jazz a 102-100 win over the Knicks, as seen below.  

And it all came on a night when Anthony single-handedly willed the Knicks toward the finish line against a red-hot Gordon Hayward (33 points, six assists), scoring an NBA season-high 46 points on 16-of-26 shooting (13-of-16 from the free-throw line) while pulling down seven rebounds. 

As The Wall Street Journal‘s Chris Herring noted, Anthony did a significant chunk of his damage in the final frame while his teammates stood idly by. Pablo Prigioni was the only other Knick to score in double figures (13 points), as starters not named Anthony shot a combined 7-of-23 from the field en route to compiling 15 points:   

Anthony admitted to reporters that losing is staring to take its toll, according to Herring: 

Anthony’s frustration is understandable, too, when you consider his subpar record when scoring at least 45 points, according to ESPN Stats and Info: 

Despite Anthony’s tremendous performance, the Knicks have now lost seven games in a row and continue to sputter on both ends in concert with their slide down the Eastern Conference standings.

According to NBA.com, the Knicks entered Friday ranked among the league’s 10 worst offensive teams, generating just 100.7 points per 100 possessions in head coach Derek Fisher’s triangle scheme. In fact, Friday’s loss marked the first time this season the Knicks scored at least 100 points in a single game. 

And it was all for naught. 

More concerning, though, is that the Knicks have been hemorrhaging points on the defensive end. Specifically, New York surrendered 109 points per 100 possessions in its first nine games, which is just slightly better than the abominable units housed in Los Angeles and Cleveland.

To add injury to insult, the Knicks lost Iman Shumpert to a right hip contusion against the Jazz, which represents a major blow considering how substantial his role has been compared to last season, as Herring noted: 

Not only is Shumpert shooting 50.5 percent from the field and 53.3 percent from three, but he also entered Friday with an offensive rating (104.3) consistent with Anthony’s team-best mark (104.4), per NBA.com.

While positive vibes emanated from Fisher in a postgame session with reporters, according to Herring, it’s hard to draw any silver linings from the team’s early performances:  

And if Fisher’s club can’t rip off consecutive wins against the Denver Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers over New York’s next four games, it will be official: The Knicks are doomed until further notice.  

 

Around the Association

LeBron Pushes Cleveland Past Boston

LeBron James finished with 41 points, seven assists and four rebounds as the Cleveland Cavaliers outscored the Boston Celtics 38-20 in the fourth quarter to capture a thrilling 122-121 victory at TD Garden. 

After the Celtics dropped 42 points in the third quarter and finished the frame up by 17, James helped mask Cleveland’s many defensive deficiencies with a brilliant fourth-quarter flourish. According to ESPN Stats and Info, the Celtics hadn’t entered the fourth quarter with a lead that big and lost in decades: 

James also vaulted into 24th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list by passing Robert Parish: 

Rajon Rondo had a chance to win it for Boston on the game’s final possession, but he failed to get a shot off after foolishly over-dribbling:    

Rondo finished with just six points and doled out a season-high 16 assists, while his primary adversary, Kyrie Irving, totaled 27 points and five assists. Kevin Love managed 12 points on 2-of-10 shooting and 15 rebounds.  

 

Duncan Passes 25,000 

By scoring nine first-half points, Tim Duncan became the 19th player in league history to score at least 25,000 points for his career, according to the NBA’s Twitter feed:  

All told, Duncan scored 13 points (6-of-8 shooting) and grabbed 11 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs trounced the Los Angeles Lakers 93-80. 

According to the Spurs’ Twitter feed, Duncan joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in an illustrious points-rebounds-blocks club:    

 

Kobe’s Historically Bad Night

Kobe Bryant, on the other hand, was tremendously inefficient, scoring nine points on 1-of-14 shooting (7-of-9 from the line) while totaling six assists, four rebounds and two blocks

According to ESPN Stats and Info, it was the worst shooting performance of Bryant’s career when attempting at least 10 shots: 

Lakers head coach Byron Scott intimated after the game that Bryant was playing at less than 100 percent, according to the team’s official Twitter account: 

 

Without Wade, Heat Fall to Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks captured their fourth straight win with a 114-103 victory over the Miami Heat.

Eight Hawks playersand all five starters—scored in double figures, as Paul Millsap and Al Horford paced Atlanta with 19 points apiece. 

Mario Chalmers led Miami with 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting off the bench while Chris Bosh and Shawne Williams scored 20 and 21 points, respectively.

As a team, the Hawks shot a staggering 56 percent from the field and 39.3 percent from three to hand Miami its second straight loss.  

 

Magic Win in Oladipo’s Debut

After undergoing surgery to repair a facial fracture, Victor Oladipo was a team-best plus-22 while scoring 13 points off the bench in his season debut, a 101-85 win for the Orlando Magic over the Milwaukee Bucks. 

With Oladipo working his way back, Evan Fournier drew another start at shooting guard, scoring 15 points (5-of-13 shooting, 3-of-6 from three) in 36 minutes. Tobias Harris was the star of the show once again, though, totaling 26 points on 10-of-18 shooting to go with 10 rebounds. 

Orlando (4-6) has now won consecutive games twice this season, while the Bucks (4-5) dropped a game below .500 with the loss. 

 

Pelicans Smash Timberwolves

The New Orleans Pelicans obliterated the Minnesota Timberwolves, 139-91, en route to setting several new franchise records. 

ESPN Stats and Info passed along the details: 

New Orleans shot 66.7 percent from the field and 75 percent from three (15-of-20). Jrue Holiday led the way with 24 points and nine assists. He also finished a team-high plus-40 in 28 minutes. 

Anthony Davis tallied 22 points and four rebounds on a tidy 9-of-13 shooting, as well, while Austin Rivers and Ryan Anderson scored 17 and 16 points, respectively, off the pine. 

Although the accomplishment came in an embarrassing loss, Andrew Wiggins scored a career-high 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting (2-of-2 from three). 

 

Quote of the Night

Brandon Jennings roasted the Oklahoma City Thunder to the tune of 29 points (25 of which came after halftime) as the Detroit Pistons escaped with a 96-89 overtime victory.

And according to Thunder point guard Reggie Jackson, via ESPN’s Royce Young and The Oklahoman‘s Anthony Slater, there was no need to mince words when discussing his opponent’s success: 

Jackson finished with 20 points and 12 assists, but Jennings’ late surge helped Detroit outscore Oklahoma City 14-7 in the extra session. 

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Trey Burke buzzer beater stuns Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks

The New York Knicks’ bad luck continued in the form of a Trey Burke buzzer beater as the Utah Jazz stole a 102-100 victory at MSG. Carmelo Anthony put out his best performance of the early season with 46 points including a three pointer that tied with the game with 2.3 seconds left.
Unfortunately for ‘Melo, Burke hit a game winner in those 2.3 seconds to sneak the victory for Utah. The Knicks suffered their seventh straight loss to fall to 2-8. Commentator Walt Frazier ended the Knicks broadcast with the apropos quote “If it wasn’t for bad luck, the Knicks wouldn’t have any luck.”
The post Trey Burke buzzer beater stuns Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks appeared first on Basketball Bicker by Joey.

View full post on Yardbarker: NBA

Utah Jazz’s Trey Burke Drains Buzzer-Beater to Sink New York Knicks

With two seconds left and the New York Knicks trailing the Utah Jazz, 100-97, Carmelo Anthony drained a 26-footer to even the score.

The Jazz had time for one quick play to avoid overtime, and second-year point guard Trey Burke found himself to be the guy. He let it fly just before the buzzer, and ball met net. 

Final: Jazz 102, Knicks 100.

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Trey Burke apologizes for nude photo leak

Utah Jazz point guard Trey Burke is yet another athlete who has become the victim of a recent nude photo leak. The compromising photos surfaced about a month ago but began making their way around Twitter this week. On Monday, Burke apologized for putting his family and teammates in an uncomfortable situation. “Publicly, I want […]

View full post on Yardbarker: NBA

Kentucky Basketball: How Far Behind Is Trey Lyles After Missing Bahamas Trip?

In the wake of the Kentucky Wildcats’ 5-1 eight-day run through international opposition in the Bahamas, college basketball analysts stateside are marveling. Journalists who’ve seen hype fail to materialize time and time again are now writing and speaking words that, to all other schools’ fanbases, have to read like warnings that a large mutant lizard is shuffling over from Japan.

The absence of junior center Willie Cauley-Stein and freshman power forward Trey Lyles has been a frequent topic of discussion, but always in a “how good will UK be when these guys are back” context. While Cauley-Stein’s experience can buy him minutes when the season begins, Lyles has no such buffer.

College basketball’s newcomers have to enjoy overseas trips not only for the cultural experiences, but the chance to gain early familiarity with their new teammates. Lyles missed out on that opportunity in the Bahamas, which makes him a very real candidate to be left behind, trailing the other eight former McDonald’s All-Americans on the roster.

How far behind will Lyles be when practice starts in October? Only the coaching staff knows for sure. By the end of the season, though, Lyles should be a key part of the rotation even if he never starts a game.

 

Invasion of the Glass-Eaters

Lyles isn’t the explosive above-the-rim defender that Cauley-Stein and Marcus Lee are. He’s not the burly earth-mover type like Dakari Johnson. He’s not a threat to spot up and hit a three from the Rupp Arena concourse’s Dunkin’ Donuts stand the way Karl Towns is. Finally, he’s not a respected perimeter defender a la Alex Poythress.

So what is he?

Primarily, Lyles is the only truly skilled low-post scorer whom coach John Calipari has in this all-stud stable. His footwork is strong and his array of moves and counter-moves dwarfs that of his more athletic teammates.

In a half-court offense, Lyles is UK’s only real threat to score on a lefty hook or a turnaround jumper. Towns possesses the ability to do so, but he’ll need to prove that he’s willing to fight through the constant contact. Inasmuch as that’s a major facet of UK’s offense, Lyles will be a valuable piece.

Last season, though, most of Kentucky’s baskets near the rim came on drives and offensive rebounds. Based on Hoop-Math.com‘s figures, only 32 percent of Kentucky’s two-point baskets were assisted last season. A further 17.2 percent came on putbacks.

Lyles is a capable offensive rebounder, but so are Cauley-Stein, Lee, Poythress and Johnson. The latter three combined for 36 offensive boards in the Bahamas, with Towns chipping in another 15. If Calipari feels that he can count on this sort of dominance against American college teams, Lyles could be in for a long season.

After all, a missed perimeter jumper can still be a great offensive play with athletes of this caliber patrolling the glass.

Calipari can tailor an offense to fit the strengths of his talent, so will he do so when Lyles is in the game? The Canadian’s playing time will increase if Calipari detects a need for more skill in the paint and greater overall efficiency within the offense.

Some of the better opponents on UK’s impressive schedule, after all, won’t surrender 58 points in the paint and 14 dunks like the Puerto Rico national reserves did.

Desperate People

The biggest concern surrounding the Kentucky offense is spacing. With so many players of limited shooting range, what’s to stop UK’s opponents from simply packing the lane and daring the Wildcats’ few snipers to hoist up threes all night?

Eventually, the arms are bound to tire on Towns, Aaron Harrison and Devin Booker, right?

While Lyles has shown an ability to stick the open three, it’s not the strength of his game. Where he can excel, however, is in the mid-range game out to about 17 feet.

A big opponent like Texaslast season’s No. 6 offensive rebounding team per Ken Pomeroy (subscription required) and a club that has only gotten stronger this offseasoncould work wonders in keeping Lee or Cauley-Stein off the offensive glass, blunting their scoring impact. Those games are where Lyles’ and Towns’ ability to pull big men away from the basket will be most essential.

Against teams possessing less length and bulk than the Longhorns (read: nearly all of them), the UK big men will face a steady diet of double-teams. Even if Lee, Cauley-Stein and Johnson can haul in an offensive carom, can they make the correct pass out of the post when they’re swarmed?

Again, Lyles and Towns are more skillful players than their veteran teammates, lacking only the experience and awareness of teammates’ tendencies. The Bahamas trip showed that Towns is already picking up the offense, judging by his 11 assists, which tied for third on the team. Dominique Hawkins, the erstwhile emergency point guard, dished that many in only six fewer minutes.

Lyles is still behind the curve thanks to his health problems, and the preseason practices in October will be pivotal for him.

 

Gimme Five?

Calipari’s platoon systemsubstituting five in and five out on regular intervals like a hockey coach calling for a line changegave all 10 healthy scholarship players significant minutes, and Calipari has indicated that it could make the occasional appearance during the season.

“I think so,” Calipari said when the Louisville Courier-Journal‘s Kyle Tucker asked him if the platoons could work in regular-season action. “And I think what happened here was, the greatest thing is everyone had a chance to show they should be playing more or less, they should be playing or not playing. You can’t say, ‘Well, I’ve never had an opportunity.’”

Even Hawkins and Derek Willis, the 11th and 12th men on the UK roster, saw significant minutes, but they’re widely expected to spend the year picking splinters once Lyles and Cauley-Stein are back in action.

But even if the Wildcats can go with a defined five starters and five reserves, how do those groups shake out?

Assuming that the Harrison twins are locked in as starters, does Cal play them off the ball with tiny Tyler Ulis in charge at the point? Do the bigs who run with that trio need to be the best athletes, best scorers or best defenders available?

For Lyles’ purposes, he has to hope that Ulis runs with the second string. Follow me here:

  • With Ulis and the twins on the first string, it locks Calipari into using Hawkins as one of the backups. That automatically costs one of the six bigsif we count Poythressa spot.
  • Poythress’ experience and impressive run in the Bahamas should earn him a starting role, and your fifth starter is very likely Cauley-Stein. A rim protector is needed in case a penetrator gets past the Harrisons, or the opposing point guard tosses a smooth entry pass over the top of Ulis.
  • The second-string backcourt would feature Hawkins and Booker, with Towns certainly locked into a role here if he’s not starting. That leaves two spots left for Johnson, Lyles and Lee.
  • While Johnson has slimmed down considerably from last season, he’s still not the dangerous defender that Lee is. If we lock Lee into a role, it pits Johnson vs. Lyles in a battle for the final spot.
  • Johnson has already proven he’s strong enough to match up with nearly any center in the SEC, if not impressive nonconference foes like Texas’ Cameron Ridley or North Carolina’s Kennedy Meeks. Therefore, your second string reads: Hawkins-Booker-Towns-Lee-Johnson, with Lyles joining Willis in hoping for mop-up time.

Now, if Ulis is the second-string point guard:

  • Towns joins Poythress and Cauley-Stein on the starting front line, since the former two were certainly the two strongest Cats in the Bahamas.
  • A second-string backcourt of Ulis and Booker would need a third scoring threat to complement Lee and Johnson up front. Lyles fits the bill nicely if he can outplay Willisno small task, but one of which a healthy player with Lyles’ credentials should be more than capable.

A second string of Ulis, Booker, Lyles, Lee and Johnsonand let’s assume this split team gets custody of Williswould still be voted into the Associated Press’ preseason Top 20, if not Top 10.

The games need to start shaking outand by that we mean the real games, not Grand Canyon and UT-Arlingtonbefore we can draw any concrete conclusions about the Kentucky rotation.

In the meantime, Trey Lyles has some work to do to make sure he’s not left out of the fun. A lost freshman year for him would be a surprise, but that doesn’t make it any less of a real possibility.

Read more College Basketball news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – College Basketball

Utah’s Trey Burke Reveals All of His Tattoos

Trey Burke finished his rookie season with the Utah Jazz and is preparing for his sophomore campaign this summer. He came into the league as a decorated college player and made an immediate impact for the Jazz.

NBA players have embraced tattoo culture over the past few decades and more players come into the league with tattoos each season. In the video above, Burke details the art and meaning behind each piece. 

 

Follow Trey on Instagram.

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Trey Burke relives March Madness with game-winner

Trey Burke sank the Orlando Magic in the same fashion he sank the Kansas Jayhawks.

View full post on USATODAY.com Feed

Next Page »