Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — As a parent, it's always a little (or awfully) scary to turn your car keys over to your 16-year-old kid who, other than that "B" he or she scraped by with in driver's ed, actually has very limited experience behind the wheel of any vehicle.
It's something that's done with great (and justifiable) apprehension, especially the first few (or 50) times you do so.
First and foremost, you're terribly worried about your child's safety and well-being.
Are they really ready to do this? Are they sufficiently prepared for whatever happens out on the road? Can we trust all those other folks out on the road — you know, the ones you're constantly cussing or glaring at for all the dumb things they do? And what if, heaven forbid, something goes wrong?
Yes, it can be downright frightening. So much so, if fact, that there's a strong temptation not to ever let them drive.
But then you realize it's a rite of passage, a sign that they're growing up and not just a kid anymore.
Besides, they've always been pretty responsible — well, except for that time they let their little brother wander away for a few frightening minutes at the mall because they were busy texting one of their friends.
So you go ahead and hand ’em the keys — and hope and pray for the best.
And then everything works out just fine. Oh, sure, there are a few bumps along the road and a flat tire or two. But in the end, you know you did the right thing.
This is essentially the role that Utah Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey finds himself in these days.
He's got this young, hotshot point guard, Trey Burke, who was college basketball's consensus player of the year in 2013 but has never played in an NBA game yet.
And Lindsey must decide whether he should hand this highly touted rookie the keys to the Jazz "car" and let him drive it — be it to a successful season, perhaps even a playoff berth, or straight into oblivion.
If I had any input in the matter (of course, I don't), I'd throw caution to the wind and say heck, yes, hand the kid the keys, cross your fingers, give him a roadmap unless he gets lost and let's see where he takes ’em.
After all, he's gonna have a bunch of other early 20-something but already somewhat experienced guys — Gordon Hayward is riding shotgun, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter are the two tough guys in the back seat, and Alec Burks and Jeremy Evans are hiding in the trunk, ready to pounce on unsuspecting opponents — riding along with him.
Hopefully, they'll help get things headed in the right direction if Burke makes a wrong turn along the way, which he undoubtedly will do from time to time.
And although they may take their lumps and their win-loss record will momentarily suffer for it, the time has come to let those young guns play, learn and grow together, even if it means trading some tough times sooner in exchange for a lot of exciting success later.
In interviews with the media, Burke has shown he already possesses an NBA player's savvy and swagger about him. No, this young man does not lack for confidence — a necessary quality for everybody who reaches this level.
Sure, Lindsey should probably do the G.M. equivalent of increasing his auto insurance coverage (or lowering the deductible) by making sure the Jazz have another more experienced point guard — whether it's Mo Williams, Earl Watson or somebody else with a few more miles on their wheels — to help mentor Burke in case he gets in trouble or needs some direction(s).
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