Utah Jazz: New point guard Trey Burke willing to work to help Jazz win, become All-Star
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Trey Burke has something he wants to do after his head stops spinning and he's got a minute to himself after a flurry of meet and greets and press conferences that have taken place in Brooklyn and the Beehive State this week.
The 20-year-old wants to search the Internet.
Not to find new FarmVille playing partners or Grumpy Cat pictures.
Not to watch that famous game-tying shot he hit from 30 feet out in Michigan's Sweet 16 upset win over Kansas another time or 10.
Not even to read what people are writing about how the Utah Jazz traded two first-round picks to make him their new point guard while also dealing for French center Rudy Gobert and Brazilian playmaker Raul Neto on a very busy Thursday night.
Burke, who'll be an NBA rookie this fall instead of a college junior, has given himself a summer-school-like assignment.
Fully aware of the golden opportunity that lies ahead of him now that he's joined a team with zero returning point guards on its roster, the reigning NCAA national player of the year plans on scouring the Web for videos of the Jazz offense.
For him, Utah game tape is must-search YouTube.
"It's my job," Burke said, "away from the coaches, off the court, to do my homework, to watch a lot of film, watch the offense."
He wants to break down how Mo Williams — the Jazz point guard whose future with the franchise remains uncertain heading into this free agency period — ran the offensive system, where he went on plays and passed the ball.
"Just get used to the whole culture," he said.
Burke's baptism by fire into the Utah culture began Friday when he was flown to his new home — with his mom, Ronda, and his dad/agent, Benji — for the first time ever.
"It's a beautiful city," Burke said Friday at the team's practice facility. "The weather is great right now. They said it gets cold in the winter."
Not inside EnergySolutions Arena — when the Jazz are winning, at least.
Part of the warmth outside might've come from a re-energized Jazz fan base and organization that remained fired up after Utah added a potential-packed point guard — and two other promising players — to a young, exciting group that includes Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks.
"We couldn't be more pleased with our selections this year," said Steve Miller, the president of Miller Sports Properties, at the introductory press conference. "It is serendipity. The stars aligned, the planets came together, and we got exactly what we were looking for in this draft."
Jazz fans, the feeling is mutual from the guy hoping to add his name to the legacy of Rickey Green, John Stockton and Deron Williams.
"This is where I start my career, so I'm looking forward to it," Burke said. "It's very exciting."
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin remains reluctant to hand the starting point guard reins over to Burke, the ninth overall pick, despite how Utah had to send the 14th selection (UCLA forward Shabazz Muhammad) and No. 21 (Louisville center Gorgui Dieng) to Minnesota to acquire him.
Corbin doesn't want Burke — or other rookies — to buckle while trying to accomplish too much too quickly and have outside sources put undue pressure on him.
"We have to give him time to get comfortable," Corbin said. "We have to see how he picks things up. We expect him to pick things up fast after watching his career up to this point. We think he's a quick learner. But the competition is different."
Burke, who set records for assists and steals with his last team, seems to welcome the challenge.
The Columbus, Ohio, native admitted he hasn't come off the bench since he was a freshman at Northland High School.
Two months after leading Michigan to the NCAA championship game, Burke's plan for his new playing situation is "to come right in and show my leadership abilities, bring a winning mentality, make plays for team."
Asked about how he'd react to not starting, Burke said, "I'll still be a leader from the bench when I'm not in the game."
But make no mistake.
Burke, who seems charmingly confident, wants to be the Jazz's starting point guard — and an excellent one at that.
"If you ask me," he said, "I feel like I can be an All-Star."
That's something the Jazz have had in abundance over the past few decades at his position. But that elite-level point-guard play is something Utah has been lacking over the past couple of years since Deron Williams was traded away.
"I definitely feel like I'm a really good playmaker, a really smart point guard that can lead his team and win," Burke said.
Words are easy to say, of course.
But Burke is willing to prove it, beginning with his intended video-watching sessions and then into next week's minicamp for the upcoming summer league in Orlando and so forth. He hopes to impress Corbin and Co. like he did the coaching staff at Michigan where he started as a freshman and sophomore.
"My plan," he said, "is to pick up on things much quicker than what they expect me to pick up on things."
Burke also plans on heeding advice he's received from a few NBA guys he knows — Jared Sullinger, Draymond Green and a small point guard named Chris Paul.
"They all pretty much say the same thing: Come in humble; work very hard; pick up on things quick; and just compete, and you'll be fine," Burke said. "They said treat it like it's a real-life 9-to-5 job. Don't look at it as a hobby anymore or this is just basketball take it seriously."
On a lighter note, the Bob Cousy Award winner (best collegiate point guard) was asked whether he has a nickname that might help Jazzland prevent some Burke and Burks confusion.
His suggestion: "T.B."
"That'll work," Corbin said, chuckling.
Added Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey with a smile: "I think the veterans will give him a name or two."
If he leads, plays, runs the pick-and-roll and passes as well as advertised, Burke might also earn his own name in the league.
For now, he's just ready to get going, especially after experiencing relief knowing he wouldn't be on a team in Minnesota that's already loaded with point guards, including Ricky Rubio.
"I'm thrilled to have an opportunity to play in the NBA," Burke said. "It's a dream of mine."
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