SALT LAKE CITY — Trey Burke’s struggles in summer league have been well-chronicled, and his performance in Saturday night’s scrimmage didn’t exactly scream, “Rookie of the Year candidate!”
Those who’ve seen him behind closed gym doors, however, are feeling good about the point guard and his progress.
“In practices, he’s really good. In practices, he’s putting some work; he’s giving his 100 percent,” Jazz center Enes Kanter said. “He’s a really good leader. ”
Kanter said he even finds himself asking Burke questions about the Jazz offense even though he’s about to enter his third NBA season.
“He’s really helping me and helping us to be a better team,” Kanter said. “He’s doing really good now.”
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin credited Burke for working hard on getting himself into tip-top playing shape coming into camp. Patience and progress are critical now that the 2013 NCAA player of the year is on the clock in the NBA.
“It’s still a learning process for him,” Corbin said. “He’s doing a good job of trying to pick things up, learning the tempo of the game, what’s going to be good for him and good for us.”
“I think he’s doing fine,” Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward said. “It’s hard to be a rookie in this league — and to be a point guard in this league is even harder. To be a rookie point guard is going to be challenge for hm. But we all have faith in what he can do and we’re all helping along the way.”
Burke acknowledged he’s played better in private workouts than in public settings.
“I think I’ve been playing really good in practice. I think I’ve been doing a good job of getting everybody involved and picking and choosing my spots,” he said. “(Saturday), it didn’t go the way I really wanted it to go for myself, but I think we did a good job of fighting back.”
The scrimmage team featuring Burke, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert rallied out of a double-digit hole Saturday but lost by one.
TOUGH WEEK: The Jazz had seven practices, including three two-a-days, and a scrimmage in a five-day period before getting Sunday off. Utah will practice again Monday ahead of Tuesday's exhibition opener at home against Golden State.
“It was a grueling week. It was summer league times two — the amount of running that we did, the amount of pounding on our bodies that we did,” Burke said. “It’s important to get this day off and get rested.”
BIG HELP: Part-time coach Karl Malone’s attendance and assistance from Tuesday through Saturday was considered a highlight of the first week of camp.
“It’s good for us to have Karl and the bigs. He was able to work with them a lot,” Hayward said. “That’s really, really valuable for them to learn from a guy like that. I thought it was a good week.”
“He helps me a lot,” Kanter said. “He helps me to understand the game.”
NO COMMENT: Scott Machado, who’s battling to be the Jazz’s third point guard, wasn’t too excited to talk about one of the memories from his college basketball career while being interviewed in introductions before Saturday’s scrimmage.2 comments on this story
His Iona team took a 25-point lead over BYU in 2012 before the Cougars rallied for the biggest comeback in NCAA tournament history in a 78-72 win. The Gaels standout had 15 points and 10 assists.
With a grin, Machado told Jazz radio voice David Locke in front of an estimated 7,200 fans, “It’s probably not something you want to talk about.”