by Leo Beas
Deonte Burton will go down as the second best player
in Nevada history but that doesn’t guarantee him a spot on the Sacramento Kings’ roster.
To the dismay of many Kings fans, the front office decided not to bring back the pizza guy (Isaiah Thomas) for various reasons.
So what exactly
is the front office’s vision? And does Burton match the vision?
The team wants a point guard that is looking to facilitate for his teammates before thinking of scoring and play very good defense in Kings head coach Mike
Malone’s defensive system.
If Burton wants to make this roster he
will have to focus on becoming a very good defender or he will be cut. Covering him the last three years at Nevada gave me a chance to realize how badly Burton desires to make an NBA roster.
Covering the Sacramento Kings the
past two seasons has allowed me to see what it takes to make a roster and it takes more than the God-given talent everyone talks about. Burton has that talent but will have to accept a role that may be 13th or 14th in the rotation, which means not playing the a vast majority of the season.
He was the “man” at Nevada but will have to become a consummate professional and accept a lesser role in Sacramento, and that’s very difficult for some star players coming out of college.
Last season, Ray McCallum was in a very similar situation and did everything right in order to stay on the team. He was a McDonald’s All-American but chose to play for his father at the University of Detroit over powerhouse programs like Duke.
But he worked hard even after he was sent to the D-League in Reno many times. Sometimes, these young men take it the wrong way and feel they’re demoted but they are sent to an affiliate to get playing time and improve.
I don’t believe Burton will have a problem playing for the Bighorns for much of the season, but if he accepts the challenge, he will be given a chance to
make an impact for the Kings just as Mc- Callum did towards the end of the year after Thomas went down with an injury.
As much as I want Burton to make an impact right off the bat, he won’t because he’s not better than Darren Collison, who recently signed to be the starter, or McCallum, who is coming off a great Summer League and being named the MVP.
Burton played six games for the Washington Wizards during Summer League and did not play well, averaging just under two points and two rebounds and one assist in 16.7 minutes a game — all while shooting a horrific 15.8 percent from the field. Yes, 15.8 percent. That’s not a typo, ladies and gentlemen!
Burton will have to have a short memory, use his athleticism on defense and try to involve his teammates in practice in order to impress the front office even more than he did during the pre draft workouts, which is how he landed this non-guaranteed contract.
My prediction? Burton makes the team.
Leo Beas can be reached at lbeas@ nevadasagebrush.unr.edu