Utah Jazz point guard Trey Burke looking to become more of a leader following solid rookie season
"We all look forward to getting better and coming back strong," he said, looking toward the future as he and his teammates prepared to depart for their different offseason destinations. "We talked about the struggle of this first year, getting adjusted to the NBA, similar things that we've all faced. ... You start getting adjusted, you start figuring out the NBA game, and I don't think I really figured it out 'til this last month or so, to be honest with you, figure it all the way out. And I still don't have everything figured out, but I have a better feel for the game and my reads are better and I'm understanding more — I think that's the word I'm looking for. I think that's when I started realizing I'm not really a rookie in my mind."
Burke admits that this season was a tremendous learning experience for him, one that will serve him well as he moves forward in his NBA career.
"I know that I have a long way to go to being the type of player that I want to be," he said, "but this offseason is very critical. It's my first offfseason and I'm gonna try to get some rest, but at the same time, I know what I need to work on. There's definitely a perspective, man; the goals are still the same, but more importantly, I think, the No. 1 thing is being more of a leader, being more of a vocal guy, and then everything else will take care of itself.
"I still have a chip on my shoulder. Just having a starting job isn't enough, man, you still have to earn everybody around the league's respect every time you go up against them, so I feel like there's always going to be a chip on my shoulder. First and foremost, me being a small point guard, a lot of people still doubt. But I know that's just other people talking; I don't listen to that, I just try to get better.
"I don't want to really just put any expectations out right now," he said, looking ahead to next season. "I definitely plan on winning more a lot, want to reach the playoffs, I think that's one goal that I really have in mind. That should be fun, but it's a lot of work, man. We've got a long way to go, but the offseason's here now and it's big for all of us. Playoffs next year, hopefully, that's the goal, definitely. We've got a young team, but we can't keep saying that. There will be a point where that young team has to start producing. I think we're (going) in the right direction.
"Other teams aren't going to come in here and say, 'Oh, they're a young team so we're not going to play hard.' That's the reality of the situation, we are young. A lot of fans ask why aren't we winning more, things like that, but I think the future's bright, man, and I'm looking forward to it and what this team can do next year."
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