Trey Burke averaged 36.1 minutes per game last season.
And while I’m of the personal opinion that blaming poor performances on tired legs is a cop out — when there are TV timeouts every four minutes, it is difficult for a 19 year old in prime physical condition to truly get tired — it’s tough to ignore the fact that two of Burke’s worst performances of the season came in the final two games.
Against Ohio State in the Big Ten tournament semifinals, Burke went 1-11 from the floor, 0-7 from three and turned the ball over eight times. In an opening round loss to Ohio in the NCAA tournament, he shot just 5-15 from the floor.
This coming season, Michigan head coach John Beilein pledged to try and limit the number of minutes Burke will play.
“Trey Burke needed to get rest,” Beilein told the Ann Arbor News. “The game has changed where the point guard has the ball much more than he ever had it. … And we realize that.”
“He was a horse the whole year, and was still able to perform, but we realize that’s not the best practice.”
It should be easier to accomplish as Burke may actually have a back up at the point guard spot next year. Spike Albrecht, a true point guard, and Nik Stauskas, a wing with the ability to handle the ball, Beilein should be able to steal more minutes with his star on the bench.
“I always thought the players you want on the floor the most, 30 and 35 (minutes) is a good number,” Beilein said. “That would mean an eight or nine-man rotation, but who knows, we could go 10.”