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Shams Charania weighs in on DJ Burns’ NBA potential

On3 imageby:Kaiden Smith04/02/24


Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

NC State has been the Cinderella team of this year’s March Madness, with the 11-seed Wolfpack making it to the Final Four following an impressive run in the ACC Tournament that they carried into the NCAA Tournament. Which has been highlighted by the dazzling play of center DJ Burns.

Burns has captivated the college basketball landscape with his unique size and skillset, standing at 6-foot-9 and weighing 275 pounds with the footwork and passing ability of a guard. But could his effective play style potentially translate to the NBA?

That’s what NBA insider Shams Charania was asked Tuesday on The Pat McAfee Show following Burns’ season-high 29 points against Duke in the Elite Eight.

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“A player with his stature, the way he’s built, a lot of his game is gonna have to be on development. He’s gonna have to develop into the proper shape. I don’t know, is he a four? Can he shoot? Can he play the five at the NBA level?” Charania asked.

Burns has drawn comparisons to reining NBA Finals MVP Nikola Jokić for his elite passing ability for a center, even receiving some praise from Jokić himself recently.

But the Joker is also known for his ability to run and space the floor as well, one of the many important facets of a center’s game in current iteration of the NBA that’s less mandatory at the college level.

“Now more and more you’re seeing guys space the floor, you’re seeing uptempo style, guys playing faster,” Charania explained. “So I think for him development’s gonna be big, I mean obviously he’s got a very very unique build.”

“He’s able to do very well along with Zach Edey at the NCAA level, but for them the biggest thing is gonna be now in today’s NBA how fast-paced the game has become. Guys at that position they’re stretching the floor, they’re shooting, they’re running, they’re going coast to coast. It’s just gonna be about if he can keep up at that level.”

It will be interesting to see if Burns is built for the NBA, but with his physical build more so resembling an NFL player, reports have also surfaced that several NFL teams have expressed interest in him as well.

“But listen, team’s are definitely gonna scout him, we’ll see where he’s at in the process and I am curious. Does he look into the NFL? I think those questions definitely have to be asked,” Charania concluded.

Whether it’s on the hardwood or the gridiron, there’s no question that it will be fascinating to see what the future holds for one of the most beloved current college athletes. Burns and the Wolfpack will take on Purdue this Saturday in the Final Four at 6:09 p.m. ET on TBS.