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Utah Jazz: Trey Burke hopes to emulate A.I. — except for the hair

Published: Saturday, March 8 2014 10:30 p.m. MST

Utah Jazz's Trey Burke in action during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Saturday, March 8, 2014, in Philadelphia.  (Matt Slocum, AP) Utah Jazz's Trey Burke in action during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Saturday, March 8, 2014, in Philadelphia. (Matt Slocum, AP)

PHILADELPHIA — It's almost too bad the Utah Jazz didn't play the Philadelphia 76ers a week ago when Allen Iverson had his No. 3 jersey raised to the rafters of Wells Fargo Center.

When he was a kid, Trey Burke looked up to smaller point guards like Iverson and Chris Paul.

For a while, the much-younger Burke even had a hairstyle similar to Iverson's.

"I had braids when I was younger," Burke admitted. "But, man, I was too tender-headed. My mom would braid my hair and it would hurt too bad, so I ended up starting to get haircuts."

Burke, who grew up to be 6-1, continued to try to emulate some of the 6-foot Iverson's crafty and creative game.

Utah Jazz's Alec Burks in action during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Saturday, March 8, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (Matt Slocum, AP) Utah Jazz's Alec Burks in action during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Saturday, March 8, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (Matt Slocum, AP)

"(Iverson) was a guy that I watched a lot. I think I did imitate him a lot at a young age," Burke said. "He was one of those guys who was just a special player, his size and he was able to score on pretty much anybody."

While his shooting percentage has dipped to 37.1 percent, Burke is working on trying to become more effective at scoring near the basket a la Iverson.

But it wasn't just Iverson's scoring prowess that impressed Burke.

"He had that competitive nature and that killer instinct," the 21-year-old said. "I think that allowed my love for the game to grow, too, just to see a guy that small — you could tell he was having fun out there, but at the same time competing."

Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin would love it if Burke, with a similar slim and small frame, continued to try to match the "tough, tough" Iverson's level of offensive explosiveness and his gritty, determined style.

Utah Jazz's Gordon Hayward in action during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Saturday, March 8, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (Matt Slocum, AP) Utah Jazz's Gordon Hayward in action during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Saturday, March 8, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (Matt Slocum, AP)

"I thought he was one of the toughest little guys in this league. I think that (he could) learn from that toughness and the way that Allen could finish at the rim. He could create contact," Corbin said. "There's a lot of good things in the comparison, if you want to compare them, that he could take and put in his game."

Corbin waited for a moment and smiled as he added, "But he'd have to practice."

Yes, he's talking about that.

FAMILIAR FOE: Sixers coach Brett Brown worked with Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey for four years at San Antonio before the two went their separate ways in the NBA. Brown thoroughly enjoyed their time together when he was Gregg Popovich's assistant coach and Lindsey was Spurs GM R.C. Buford's assistant.

Utah Jazz's Trey Burke in action during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Saturday, March 8, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (Matt Slocum, AP) Utah Jazz's Trey Burke in action during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Saturday, March 8, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (Matt Slocum, AP)

"He’s a good man, really good at his job," Brown said of Lindsey. "(He) has a fantastic balance of three things: analytics, assessment of talent and a feel for the game. He’s a player (at Baylor). I just feel like he ticks a lot of boxes where you love just going into his office and sharing ideas and arguing and seeing which direction the game was going."

Brown believes the Jazz are in for a successful future with Lindsey, too.

"He’s going to be fantastic in Utah," he said. "He’s a good person and he’s really good at what he does."

Big question: Who won those basketball philosophy arguments between Lindsey and Brown?

"I'm saying it was 50-50," Brown said, smiling. "How gutless is that?"

Utah Jazz's Diante Garrett in action during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Saturday, March 8, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (Matt Slocum, AP) Utah Jazz's Diante Garrett in action during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Saturday, March 8, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (Matt Slocum, AP)

SLUMP BUSTER: Jazz center Derrick Favors hit 6 of 9 shots, scored 15 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in Utah's 104-92 win over the Sixers on Saturday. In three previous games, the co-captain had only scored 18 points on 6-of-15 shooting with 17 rebounds.

"I don’t let that stuff worry me," Favors said. "You make shots. You miss shots. You have good games. You have bad games. ... I just stay focused. I continue to play hard."

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