'Totally different guy': Utah Jazz guard Trey Burke has come a long way in 12 months
Burke is also being counted on to help tutor Dante Exum. The fifth pick in last month’s draft is a point guard, but the Jazz are experimenting with pairing them up to give Utah better ballhandling, passing and playmakers from the backcourt. Outside shooting and defense are concerns, but the Jazz are hopeful the reward will be worth the risk. Snyder hasn’t indicated whether he’d consider starting them together this fall or moving fourth-year shooting guard Alec Burks into a permanent starting role.
“He’s still young, but his work ethic is going to allow him to continue to grow in this league,” Burke said of Exum. “I certainly think we can play together.”
Burke said this summer is important for him, not just to try to erase bad memories of 2013 but also to help the Jazz begin to “build our identity.”
Burke said he’s “much more comfortable” this summer, a sentiment that reflects how he feels physically, mentally and in his approach to basketball.
“The game’s slowed down a lot for me. I’m seeing things quicker out there,” he said. “(The game’s) slow in the mind, fast in the court. I feel good right now. I’m just looking forward to continue to get better.”
Burke made a good impression on his coach early on in their relationship.
“There’s a willingness from him right away,” Snyder said. “You talk to him, he’s engaged.”
Snyder, who played point guard at Duke during a college career that included three Final Four appearances, also likes that Burke is willing to listen and learn.
“I want to see him get over screens. I want to see him defend pick-and-roll on the ball. You can tell it’s important to him. That gets me excited,” Snyder said. “Offensively, he’s got a great tempo. He just has a really good feel for the game. You can tell he’s played for coach (John) Beilein at Michigan. Those things come instinctively to him.”
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