Quick Links

Will new team, new location revitalize Trey Burke's career?

Will new team, new location revitalize Trey Burke's career?

Considering that likely more than half of the players on the Washington Wizards will be different from last season, the idea of a fresh start is a theme echoed throughout the 15-man roster. Arguably no single player epitomizes that scenario more than Trey Burke.

"Oh, man, definitely," the point guard said about the excitement of starting anew after some trying times during his three seasons with the Jazz.

Burke, the ninth overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, started 111 games during his first two campaigns, but exclusively came off the bench during the 2015-16 season before eventually falling out of the rotation.

In search of a backup for John Wall, Washington traded a future second round pick to the Jazz this summer for the 6-foot-1 guard, who averaged 12.1 points and 4.2 assists during his first three seasons.

"I feel like Utah was like a real learning experience for me. A real test for me," Burke said. "This summer I just had to really put the work in and mentally be prepared for my next move. Didn't know where it was going to be. ...Now that I'm here in D.C., have the opportunity to learn under John Wall, an All-Star point guard, and play with and alongside with him and Brad [Beal] and some great bigs, a new coaching staff. I'm excited about what's to come."

Burke ticked off several factors that, in his opinion, contributed to the dip in minutes and production over time.

"Getting injured in my rookie season, during preseason, breaking my finger and missing two months. Then having to come into a starting role and having to learn right (away). The coaching staff gets fired after my rookie season ...It's a lot of factors behind the business that people really don't see."

That includes geography.  

"I feel like this is more of my fit," the 23-year-old said of Washington. "I'm more urban, more city type. I'm from Columbus, Ohio. Utah is more country type."

On the court, the Wizards need Burke to be the type of point guard who can run what will be a completely revamped second unit, but also find his scoring spots when desired. 

Washington needs plenty from wings Kelly Oubre Jr. and Tomas Satoransky this season. That duo has a combined one year of NBA experience. Center Ian Mahinmi is a defensive presence, but not a go-to scorer. Forward Andrew Nicholson offers some inside-out game, but wasn't always consistent in his previous stop. Even when including Jason Smith and Marcus Thornton, only Oubre was with Washington at the start of last season. 

"You would think it would be tough," Burke said of so many new players gelling together, "but we can make it work. This is a great group of guys. ...We'll see how it goes."

Of course, Burke could end up starting the season with the starters depending on whether Wall is good to go for the Oct. 27 season opener after undergoing two knee surgeries during the offseason.

"I thought about it a little bit. Obviously, you have to think about it. John, how significant he is to this team. If he were to miss some time, I definitely would be able to step up and fill those shoes," the confident Burke said.

Wall's physical status is the biggest question mark entering the season, though the three-time All-Star has shown good progress during training camp. Also high on the uncertainty list? Which Burke do the Wizards get. His defense is hardly elite. Running an offense is crucial for a point guard and Burke, who will battle Satoransky for minutes behind Wall, struggled doing just that at times in Utah. Yet he can score and is still very young. Perhaps the business of the NBA combined with a new spot will spark a strong second act.

"I really feel like this is a fresh start for me,' Burke said. "I feel like this is a good spot for me."

RELATED: Best friends rumble for roster spot at Wizards' camp

Quick Links

Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

This weekend was already going to be special for Washington Wizards fans. Now they will get souvenirs to remember it.

As part of their celebration of Phil Chenier's legendary career and the 40th anniversary of their 1978 NBA championship, the Wizards are handing out emoji signs on Friday night and commemorative t-shirts on Sunday. All fans in attendance will receive a giveaway.


The emoji sign has Chenier's face on it and will be handed out for the March 23 game against the Nuggets. Chenier will have his jersey retired at halftime during the game. 

The emoji sign is presented by NBC Sports Washington. You're welcome, Authentic Fans.


The shirts will be given out on Sunday when the Wizards host the New York Knicks. 

Here's the front...

And the back...

Let's take a closer look at that back...

As a reporter who has received many giveaways over the years at pro sports stadiums, these are uniquely awesome. Should be a great weekend for Wizards fans. See you at the arena.


NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!


Quick Links

Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

As if they needed a reminder, the Wizards saw firsthand on Wednesday night just how much can change in a short period of time in the Eastern Conference playoff race where just two games separate the No. 3 and No. 6 teams.

That No. 6 team is now your Washington Wizards, who began the day in fourth place but lost their first game in four days on the same night both the Cavs and Sixers won theirs. 

The Wizards lost to the Spurs on Wednesday and managed only 90 points, their fewest since Jan. 22. It was a lackluster performance in a game the Wizards needed to treat with urgency. 

The Spurs sure did.

"We've gotta have a better mentality coming into games," guard Bradley Beal said. "The Spurs were fighting for playoff seeding just like we were."

The Wizards have now lost six of their last 10, yet all those games have come against teams currently holding playoff spots. Considering John Wall remains out with a left knee injury, it's hard to fault them too much when they are staying afloat just fine in the big picture.


The problem is that the closer they get to the end of the season, the more these losses are magnified. They amount to missed opportunities, some bigger than others.

That was not lost on Beal, who considered the alternative. If the Wizards had beaten the Spurs, they would be sitting in fourth, two spots higher, and just a game-and-a-half out of third.

"Every time we have a chance to move up, we take two steps back," Beal lamented.

The Wizards are in a high stakes part of the standings where plenty is in the balance. They are fighting for home-court advantage, something they would get in the third or fourth spots. And who they match up with will be paramount.


By falling to sixth, the Wizards are currently in line to play the Cleveland Cavaliers. Though the Pacers and Sixers are also good teams, they don't have LeBron James. Avoiding him and the Cavs would be ideal for the Wizards.

Beal has even bigger worries than that. He noted after the loss in San Antonio that they could fall even further if they aren't careful. They are now just a game-and-a-half up on the seventh-place Heat. 

"We've gotta realize what's at stake, man. The way we're going, we could keep dropping and mess around and be eighth. We've gotta do whatever it takes to win," he said.

The Wizards should be fine if the previous two months are any indication. But Wednesday night was another example of how precarious things are for them this season in the tightly-packed Eastern Conference.


NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!