Matt Gade, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — With all the hype of the draft and all the summer camps and leagues behind him, Utah Jazz rookie Trey Burke is now officially settling in to his spot on an NBA roster.
"I feel a little bit more comfortable knowing that I got my first practice under my belt, and I'm just ready to move forward from here," he said at the Zions Bank Basketball Center on Tuesday afternoon.
"There was a lot of uncertainty, really, not really knowing what to expect coming into training camp," the Michigan product said. "But once I got comfortable with the staff and got comfortable with my new teammates, they're making it easy for me out there, helping me through my mistakes and, more importantly, they're teaching me."
Head coach Tyrone Corbin recognizes the learning curve that lies ahead of Burke and other young players. He and his coaching staff have taken the time to offer advice to help him adjust to his new surroundings — both on the court and off.
"You can try and make things as simple as you can, but the game is what the game is," the coach said. "(Burke is) going to have to face all those obstacles. We try and put him in situations to get him prepared for what he is getting ready to face, but it’s going to change when he gets in front of it and faces it."
With regard to basketball, Corbin said Burke is in an improved position due to the added time he put in prior to training camp. Burke added that the coach asked him to focus on improving his pace of play and aggression — once he adjusted to the elevation.
Corbin also spoke about his discussions with Burke regarding his new life away from basketball.
"Off the court just making sure he understands the responsibility of being a good citizen," Corbin said. "He understands what he should be doing, now he needs to understand the crowd that’s going to be around him because he is who he is. He’s used to some of that at the college level, it changes at this level. He’s done a good job of making those adjustments thus far."
POSTING CHANGES: A new group of big men moving into primary roles has led to some changes in the Jazz offense.
"Derrick (Favors) and Enes (Kanter) are very capable low-post guys. They’re a little different than what we had in Al (Jefferson) and Paul (Millsap), but (they) are big bodies," Corbin said. "We have to change some things and make sure we’re going to what makes them good on the block."
That includes, for example, putting less of an emphasis on posting up with their "backs to the basket with a guy laying on them," the coach said. "Maybe a guy moving so they can catch it on the move and make quicker moves than Al could."
On the defensive end, Corbin added, the team is working to improve its man-to-man matchups in one-on-one situations.
EXPANDING ROLES: Entering his fourth season in the NBA, swingman Gordon Hayward is working to increase his repertoire on offense.
"Definitely try to add a mid-range part to my game," he said. "A lot of it last year was either the 3-point line or layups and finishes like that, so I'm working on finishes at the mid-range."
Hayward added that moving to the post is another item in his bag of tricks.
"I'm trying to find different places that I can score and be effective," he said. "When I have a smaller guy (defending me), I'll definitely go into the post and take advantage of that."
The Jazz coaching staff is also expecting the returning starter to be more of an instigator.
"I've been asked to be more of a playmaker," Hayward said. "I expect the ball to be in my hands a little bit more, and to go find guys in situations and spots where they can be successful."
UPDATE ON MARVIN: Veteran guard Marvin Williams continues on his road to recovery from offseason surgery to repair a sore right heel and Achilles tendon.
With an anticipated recovery time of at least six months, Williams is not expected to return to the floor until December.
"It’s going to be a little while, from what I understand, but he’s working his butt off to try and get ready," Corbin said. "We’ve just got to wait and see how his body responds."
When it comes to nailing down a specific date, Corbin said he would defer to Williams and the athletic training staff.
"I’m going to listen to Briggs and the doctors and Marvin on that," he said. "He’s coming along. We want to make sure we’re doing the right things by him so when he’s back, he’s back for the long haul and not just coming back and getting hurt again."
Williams, who is entering his second season with the Jazz and his ninth in the league, averaged a career-low 7.2 points per game on 42 percent shooting a year ago.
Still, Corbin appreciates Williams' experience and leadership with such a young incoming roster.
"Who he is, how he conducts himself, the leadership ability that he has, the respect for the game and his teammates that he has," Corbin said. "All those things will help us grow."
Sarah Thomas earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MBA at Westminster College. She has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.
- AP source: Irving, Barnes finish US Olympic...
- Federer out to turn around frustrating season...
- With 1-0 loss to Colombia, US finishes 4th in...
- Ipsen, Hixon get Olympic 3-meter spots,...
- National champion Sam Mikulak leads US men's...
- Past few days 'difficult' for former...
- Defending champ Serena Williams at Wimbledon...
- Chile wins 2nd straight Copa America title as...
- Never on Sunday: BYU won't compete on... 168
- Kalani Sitake on BYU-Utah rivalry: 'I... 84
- Sitake not intimidated by BYU's arduous... 59
- Morning links: Colin Cowherd compares... 55
- Dick Harmon: 1996 Cotton Bowl champion... 50
- Morning Links: BYU basketball fans... 44
- Utah Jazz plan to be 'active' during... 24
- Sitake making transition from longtime... 20