It looked as if Trey Burke was dealt a good hand when he began his NBA career back in 2013. But after a great rookie season came only tribulation for the young point guard.
Burke was an all-rookie first-team selection, after positing 12.8 points and 5.7 assists in his first year with the Jazz. He looked to be their future starting point guard, especially with 68 starts in the 82-game season.
However, the Jazz drafted Dante Exum, another point guard, in 2014. That draft pick was the start to Burke having to build up his mental toughness.
"Being 20 years old, it messed me up a little bit mentally, and I think 80 percent of the game is mental," Burke told The Post's Fred Kerber. "When you're going out there with that on your conscience, you're not going to be the best version of yourself.
"Through experience I think I learned how to handle those type of trials [and] adversities. It's made me the player I am today."
It wasn't an easy road, though, for Burke to fight through those tribulations. He did play in 76 games in 2014, but saw only 43 starts. Then, in 2015, he strictly came off the bench in the 64 games he played.
Burke traveled to the East Coast to play for the Wizards in 2016, but once again, saw no starts. In just 57 games, he saw 12.3 minutes per game, and would eventually find his way to the G-League.
It may have been rock bottom for the now 25-year-old, but it made him into the player he is now with the Knicks. He is part of the three-headed point-guard monster that includes Frank Ntilikina and Emmanuel Mudiay. He may not have been able to work within the Jazz or Wizards' point-guard systems, but with the Knicks, things are entirely different.
"We can all coexist," said Burke, who is coming off back-to-back games with 26 points. "We all have unique talents, unique abilities. Emmanuel has his ability to create for others and himself, as well as myself, and then Frank with his versatility, his ability to play defense and get up in the ball. And he's young, 19 years old. He has a long way to go, but he's definitely on the right path. We have a lot of good veterans on this team that are showing him the ropes."
Despite still sharing time, Burke's confidence has risen since he joined the Knicks earlier this year.
"I prepared for the opportunity. I stayed locked in...even though I wasn't playing," he noted. "I've been playing confident as well. A lot of guys get the opportunity and they're timid. Me, I wanted to be aggressive and be myself."
Ntilikina and Mudiay, who are both 6-foot-5, may have the edge in height and age compared to Burke. However, head coach Jeff Hornacek loves Burke's tenacity and spark he creates off the bench, which is why he is finding time for all three of his talented guards.
"Trey's played extremely well in these last two games, so we kind of kept him out there," Hornacek said. "I think that combination of him and Frank has been good off the bench. Emmanuel's been good with our starting guys. But at time, I want to see Emmanuel and Frank and see Emmanuel and Trey together."
Burke is will continue to make his rise up from rock bottom with each game that comes his way. He is currently averaging 9.9 points and 3.4 assists in 15 minutes per game this season.