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Step Into My Office: Deonte Burton

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Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Now that we've covered the returning back court, our next player profile features one of the more enigmatic personalities to come through the Cyclone program in recent years.

Deonte Burton, once a highly coveted 4-star prospect, left Marquette mid-way through his sophomore year, leaving behind a heap of unrealized potential. Burton never fully cracked the Golden Eagles' rotation, but big things nonetheless were expected from the explosive junior this past season.

Season At A Glance

For all intents and purposes, Deonte Burton was virtually the perfect 6th man for Iowa State after he became eligible in late December. He showed he was able to provide a scoring punch off the bench and displayed a truly unique approach and skillset that was nowhere else to be found on the roster and perhaps even, the Big 12.

As a result, Burton was named the conference's Newcomer of the Year as he was finally able to show why he was a top 50 player coming out of high school.

MINS FG% 3PT% FT% REB ASST STLS BLK PTS
18.8 53.3% 47.7% 63.5% 3.9 1.0 0.9 0.6 9.7

As with most 6th men, we saw a lot of feast or famine from Burton during his debut season as a Cyclone. In 12 of the 26 games he played, he failed to reach double-digit scoring, including 7 contests where he scored 4 points or less. On the flip side, he also had 6 games where he scored 14 points or more, including 2 efforts where he broke the 20-point barrier. Interestingly, Iowa State was 8-4 in the games Burton failed to score 10 points or more, while they were just 6-8 in the games he reached double digits.

The previous paragraph, coupled with Burton's shooting splits just may explain why he averaged less than 20 minutes a game. The guy can clearly fill it up, but questions remain about whether or not he can do it night in and night out. But maybe the advanced stats suggest otherwise.

%MIN ORtg %Poss %Shots eFG% OR% DR% ARate TORate Blk% Stl% FTRate
46.9% (6th) 112.7 (5th) 24.4% (2nd) 24.4% (2nd) 58.2% (4th) 8.8% (2nd) 14.2% (4th)

9.7% (4th)

14.6% (3rd) 3.2% (2nd) 2.8% (1st) 34.6% (2nd)

If you take away the departing seniors, Burton actually would have led the team in percentage of possessions used, percentage of shots taken, offensive rebounding percentage, block percentage and free throw rate.

Of the advanced numbers, the figures that jumped out at me the most were the offensive rebounding rate, block percentage and steal percentage. Many have Burton pegged as a one-trick pony and I've even heard some compare him to James Harden in a non-favorable way (no interest in defense and rebounding). These metrics, however, suggest that Burton certainly is capable of being a difference maker even when he's not shooting the ball.

2016-2017 Outlook

Burton is more than likely going to have to spend some time playing out of position again as a senior. With Emmanuel Malou not making it to campus and the uncertainty that surrounds the big man trio of Simeon Carter and incoming freshmen, Solomon Young and Cameron Lard, Burton will likely find himself among a post rotation that includes graduate transfers, Merrill Holden and Darrell Bowie.

The biggest question to ask is if Burton's offensive game will be enough to offset the problems that his lack of height could cause defensively? On the surface, I think it can.

Burton isn't a guy that gets his shots in the rhythm of the game, but that's not always a bad thing. On a team full of players that are used to being complimentary pieces, Prohm needs a guy that can simply step up and get buckets and that is what Burton can give you.

Looking back at his usage rate and shot rate, you have to assume those numbers only increase now that Georges Niang, Abdel Nader and Jameel McKay have moved on. In fact, Burton's percentage of possessions used and shots taken already put him among the top 10 in those categories in the Big 12. This could prove to be especially good news for Iowa State as Burton is a career 50.9% shooter and knocks down his threes at a clip of 46.4%. That's in 66 career D1 games as well, so we're talking about a pretty good sample size.

Now, the biggest adjustment Burton will have to make is responding to being "game-planned for". My guess is that on last year's scouting report, Burton likely fell somewhere between 4th to 6th in terms of the most dangerous player on the Iowa State roster. How will Burton handle being treated as anywhere from a #1 to #3 option as coaches send better defenders at him?

The truth is, we'll likely see an increase in Burton's usage and as more of a top-level score, it's reasonable to assume that could lead to a dip in his offensive efficiency. Still, I don't think it would be out of line to project Burton's scoring average climbing up to around the 15-point threshold as a high-water mark with 12 points per game likely being his floor. And really, we're not talking about much to hit those numbers.

Burton took 7 shots a game this past season, so if he takes 4-5 more per game next year and makes 45% of those looks, we're talking about anywhere from 4-6 more points scored per game. That number could even be more drastic if he ups his 3-point attempt rate from the 26% he posted last year to closer to 30% as a senior (which wouldn't be a bad idea considering he shot 18-38 from deep). And this doesn't even take into account free throw attempts, which as we can see above, Burton posted the second best free throw attempt rate on the team last year.

I'm on record predicting Monte Morris to lead Iowa State in scoring next year, but if there's one guy on the roster that I can see pushing him for that honor, it's Burton. Then again, Prohm doesn't need Burton to be an alpha dog. He just needs him to be consistent, and that's the challenge going forward.