“Obviously, everybody loves to score, but as a point guard those are the two stat lines that I definitely value, especially my assist-to-turnover ratio,” he said. “It goes to show how valuable the ball is to you. As the quarterback out there on the court, you’ve got to take care of it.”
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin is about as excited about the command his youngster has of the basketball as Burke is about being called “TB” by a certain someone who occasionally gets away with pushing off during the NBA Finals.
Last week, Corbin jokingly said he didn’t want to talk about Burke’s low turnover rate. He didn’t want to jinx it. But the coach complimented his player Saturday for that excellent ball control and decision-making process after the Jazz’s second road win of this Southeastern journey.
“He continues to do a great job there. He’s been very successful in not turning the ball over and we need that,” Corbin said. “He’s learning every night out. He has a lot of pressure on him to be who he wants to be and everybody else thinks he should be in this league.”
Burke’s shooting percentage still needs to rise for him to be consistently effective, but his TO percentage is a testament of how well and quickly he’s adapting to the NBA game.
“Just trying not to rush," Burke explained. "Making sure that that pass that I’m about to pass is there — if not, going to the next option, trusting my teammates when I throw them the ball, trusting the bigs when they get a spot to throw it to them in the paint."
Being attentive to his teammates and to opponents was a trait that helped him lead his school to the national championship game last spring.
“At Michigan, that’s something that I really valued — not turning the ball over,” Burke said. “It led over into this level. I’m just going to continue to try to take care of the ball.”
He’ll continue to soak up his MJ moment, too.
Put yourself in his shoes for a minute, and imagine the excitement.
After 21-plus years, Burke suddenly found himself chatting face-to-face with one of his childhood idols, and the larger-than-life shoe salesman knew his name. All the better that it came after Burke's smooth play in the win.
Burke couldn’t stop smiling while talking about the experience.
“It was an exciting moment,” he said.
MJ didn’t just casually greet TB, either. The man considered by many to be the greatest basketball player to ever play also left Burke with some advice.
“(Jordan) said, ‘Keep working. You’re doing really good. Just stay healthy,’” Burke said, again cracking a grin. “Those words will stick with me, absolutely.”
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