Knicks guard Trey Burke had a double-double of 18 points and 11 assists in 29 minutes, all season highs, in Thursday's 130-118 road loss to the Denver Nuggets.
The 25-year-old Burke, who made his team debut earlier this month after New York signed him from G League Westchester, had averaged five points and 2.3 assists in 7.3 minutes per game in four appearances prior to Thursday's game, when he scored his most points in a game since April 2017.
"Coach told me to push the pace, penetrate, make plays, take what the defense gives me," Burke said, according to the New York Post's Marc Berman. "He knows naturally I'm a scoring point guard. He tells me to be myself. I just took what they gave me tonight."
Burke's play Thursday night was a stark contrast from veteran Jarrett Jack and rookie Frank Ntilikina, who combined for nine points on 4-of-15 shooting. Hornacek said earlier in the week he would continue to rotate the three point guards.
Trey Burke had his 1st double-double of the season last night for the Knicks:- Michigan in the NBA (@NBAMichigan) January 26, 2018
"The game changes a bit … when [Burke's] out there," Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek said, according to Berman. "With him, [Kristaps Porzingis] and shooters, we feel good about that group being out there. He's got the ability to get us some easy looks on the pick-and-roll, saw he's able to drive around big guys when they did switch. It puts pressure on the defense."
Burke said he felt Hornacek trusted him to play similar to how he did with Westchester, where he averaged 26.6 points and 5.3 assists in 26 games this season, despite the differences in style and pace between the NBA and the G League.
"You got more guys that need the ball," Burke said, according to Berman. "In the G League, it was an opportunity for me to run the team, but [Westchester] needed me to score at a very high level. Tonight, coach trusted me, knew I can be the guy to score as well. My primary focus is to penetrate, get others involved while taking what the defense gives me."