Utah Jazz: Trey Burke has rough Jazz debut, but team likes what he's doing
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
ORLANDO, Fla. — As far as first impressions go, Utah Jazz fans might want to hold on to the initial fuzzy feeling they had on draft night when Trey Burke euphoria swept through the Beehive State.
Burke's debut in Jazz gear was, well, very 1-for-12 like.
If trading up with Minnesota to grab the highly touted point guard was the party, Sunday's game at the Orlando Pro Summer League felt like the next morning's cleaning reality check.
The 6-foot-1 guard, whom Utah obtained for the 14th and 21st picks after Minnesota drafted him ninth overall, finished with eight points with 11 misses, seven rebounds and five assists in this summer outing.
"Poor shooting, obviously," said Burke, a 6-foot-1 player who just couldn't get into an offensive rhythm while assessing his first Jazz appearance. "It wasn't my best game, below average to me, but we won so that's all that matters."
Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward, who observed from the bench, cracked a slight grin when asked about Burke's performance in Utah's 69-59 win over Miami.
"It's good to get that first one out of the way," Hayward said. "He didn't shoot the ball extremely well, but that’s first-game jitters."
The Jazz aren't experiencing buyer's-remorse jitters.
In fact, the team has been quite impressed with Burke's performance, demeanor and effort since the Michigan product began training with the Jazz on Wednesday for a four-day minicamp leading up to this weeklong summer league.
"He's had a very good camp," Jazz assistant coach Sidney Lowe said after Sunday's game.
The Jazz coaching staff liked how Burke got the team into the offense, how he remained poised, that he only committed two turnovers in 32 minutes, and the way he constantly talked with teammates.
The shooting wasn't pretty, but Burke has pleased Utah brass with the leadership he's showing and his desire to improve.
"He's telling other guys where they should be. That's really impressive," Lowe said. "It's not a surprise. You can tell he's a point guard."
Though his shots nearly all clanged off the rim, Burke had one particularly sweet drive-and-dish late in the game that resulted in an easy bucket for Utah's other debuting rookie, 7-1 center Rudy Gobert (six points, three blocks). Jazz veteran Jeremy Evans was also the recipient of a Burke assist that led to a dunk.
"He's a good player works hard running the team," Evans said. "I think he's going to be great."
Hayward has seen enough from Burke since arriving in Orlando on Saturday to get excited for teaming up with him in the future.
"You can see when he's out there he's calm," Hayward said. "It didn't seem like he got rattled too much, and that's definitely a good sign."
Another good sign, according to the Jazz?
Burke's no-nonsense approach to learning all complexities involved in being an NBA playmaker.
"That position is so crucial that you can't let it define you by whether you're making shots or not. You’ve got to do all of the other things. I think he'll be fine," Lowe said. "He's a serious young man — something that I really didn't know (before minicamp). He's really serious about the game. He's serious about getting better, and he's going to get better."
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