Nothing has come easy for Deonte Burton. Playing for Compton Centennial and the Compton Magic, he constantly had to disprove the notion that he was a shooting guard trapped in a lead guard’s body. In fact, he didn’t even have a college until the summer after he graduated high school. Four years later, he’s knocking on the NBA’s front door.
Honing his skills with Drew Hanlen of Pure Sweat Basketball, we got a glimpse of Deonte at the BDA Sports Pro Day in LA. Having watched him over the years on tape and at the CP3 Elite Point Guard Camp, we were hip to his game. Therefore, checking out his pro day was just reinforcing a lot of what we already saw.
The 6-1 lead guard shot the ball well from deep and used his strong frame to seemingly make a smooth transition adjusting to the NBA three point line. He changed speeds well during the pick and roll, while also making solid decisions with the rock in his hands. The 2,000 points he scored throughout his career at Nevada showed he can get buckets on just about anyone, but now it is time to show he can be a lead guard at the highest level.
“We’re working on ball screen possession reads. Where to have his eyes, how to read downhill defenders, and then how to become a playmaker,” Hanlen answered when asked what the two are focusing on in the pre-draft process. “He showed that he could score against any defensive scheme in college, but in the NBA, he’s going to have to be a playmaking point guard. He’s sharpening up his reads, we’re really showing him how to use a ball screen, and then he’s learning how to run a team.”
Defensively, Burton has a lot to work with. He is a tough dude who will fight over a screen, yet also has the athleticism to keep up with most guards. The 22-year-old uses his explosiveness to get into the passing lanes and was an elite shot-blocker for a guard at the college level, making him a potential coach’s dream on the defensive end.
Firmly in the second round mix, the team who selects Deonte will be doing so with confidence in his ability to continue his development as a lead guard. Like most elite guards on low-major to mid-major programs, shot selection can tend to be an issue because the team needs you to do so much in order to have a chance of winning. With the best players around him at the next level, it’s going to make the game a whole lot easier on him. It’s just a learning process from here on out.
“He showed that he could score against any defensive scheme in college, but in the NBA, he’s going to have to be a playmaking point guard,” Hanlen spit out as Burton’s recipe for success in the League. “For him to be on a roster and have a long, successful NBA career, he’s going to have to be a guy who runs a team and puts players in good scoring positions.”