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Revisiting The 2013 Minnesota And Utah Draft Night Trade

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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Comparing NBA players is always a slippery slope. And most of the time nobody’s right.

Who had a better prime, Kobe Bryant or LeBron James?

I don’t know.

Now if you’re asking about Bryant vs. Smush Parker, well, sorry Smush, but Kobe wins again.

Draft-day trades are set up perfectly for comparisons. Wolves fans have compared Brandon Roy and Randy Foye plenty of times. And then there’s Stephon Marbury and Ray Allen along with Kevin Love and O.J. Mayo.

On June 27, 2013, the Wolves took point guard Trey Burke with the ninth overall pick, which seemed unusual considering the Wolves already had Ricky Rubio, J.J. Barea and Luke Ridnour on their roster. Many predicted a trade. Those people were right.

The Wolves traded Burke to the Utah Jazz for the mysterious Shabazz Muhammad, who Utah selected 14th overall, and Gorgui Dieng, who was selected 21st overall.

After two years and some change, it’s not all that easy to figure out who won that trade. Or maybe it is... You tell us.

Let’s go player-by-player here.

Burke has been a solid offensive player for Utah in his career. He’s averaging 12.5 points per game throughout his career to go with 4.6 assists per game. The bad news is that he’s shot just 38.1 percent from the field, but he has that mark up to 42.5 percent this season. He’s also been solid from the 3-point line this season, shooting 36.1 percent from deep.

From the get-go, the former Michigan Wolverine received plenty of playing time, starting 111 games while appearing in 175.

After he drafted Muhammad, Flip Saunders admitted that Muhammad wasn’t actually the team’s main target. Muhammad used that as fuel throughout his career. After playing in just 37 games in his rookie season (Rick Adelman wasn’t a big fan of playing rookies), Muhammad bounced back in his second season, averaging 13.5 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Unfortunately, he was only able to play in 38 games due to a thumb injury.

This season has been up-and-down for Muhammad, due to up-and-down minutes. In 17.2 minutes per game, Muhammad is averaging 8.1 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.

In his career, Muhammad has appeared in 106 games and has started just 13.

Burke has Muhammad beat in points per game, but Muhammad is outscoring him 19.3 to 15.1 points per 36 minutes. Muhammad has shot 34.9 percent from the 3-point line and 48 percent from the field, both better than Burke.

For you advanced stat fans out there (more and more every day, which is a good thing), let’s turn to PER. PER is a measure of per-minute production standardized so the league average is 15. Muhammad is above the average, at 16.8, while Burke is below, at 12.9.

Burke has gotten more of a run, but Muhammad has done more with his, according to the numbers.

Dieng was supposed to be more of a project, but instead put up two 20-point, 20-rebound games in his rookie season. For his career, Dieng is averaging  7.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. This season, he’s averaging 8.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game in 24.4 minutes per game. Per 36 minutes, he’s averaging 12.9 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.

To PER… Dieng has a career 16.7 PER, again better than Burke.

The argument you could make for Burke is that he’s played more than Muhammad and Dieng, but all numbers indicate that Muhammad and Dieng have been better overall players in their time on the court than Burke.

It’s only a little more than two seasons after the trade, but it looks like Saunders made the right move.

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