ORLANDO, Fla. — This past week was full of surprises for the Utah Jazz.
Some were pleasant — like the veteran poise and comfort displayed by Jeremy Evans on offense and Alec Burks on defense.
Some were really pleasant — like the solid play of draft-day acquisitions Rudy Gobert and Raul Neto.
And, yes, some were not so pleasant — like the fact that their starting point guard of the future was the talk of the Orlando Pro Summer League for the wrong reason.
One thing that wasn't a surprise?
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin took a positive spin on the 2-3 Jazz's nine-day experience, which began with a minicamp July 2 and ended with Friday's last-second 73-70 loss to Indiana in the third-place game.
"I thought all the guys played well, played hard," Corbin said.
Some shot better than others.
Although Jazz coaches aren't acting overly concerned about Burke's offensive debut, the shooting struggles of the national player of the year will probably be the lasting memory of this summer session.
Only three months after leading Michigan to the NCAA championship game, Burke just couldn't find his groove — or the bottom of the net — in his first NBA experience.
In four games, the 6-1 point guard missed 18 of 19 3-pointers and only shot 24.1 percent in four shaky outings. He also spent one game sitting next to Jazz assistant Brad Jones, getting coach-prescribed rest and a tutorial from the bench.
"I learned a lot. I think my performance was poor that's just me being honest with myself," Burke said after dishing out five assists and scoring eight points on 4-of-12 shooting Friday. "But I think that's just because my shot wasn't falling. I think everything else I did pretty well."
Burke's new head coach feels the same way.
Corbin defended the 20-year-old, who's been through a "whirlwind" with the exhaustive pre-draft process followed by a packed practice and playing schedule for summer league.
"He's a little tired, but it's a growing process for us," Corbin said. "We have a good feel for who he is. We know where we have to get him better in some situations."
"He can score the ball. His ball was flat because he was shooting it with tired legs, I think," Corbin said. "We'll get him better there. He's going to be a good player in this league for us."
Burke said he'll spend the rest of the summer working out in Salt Lake City, Santa Barbara, Calif. (at the Jazz-recommended P3 performance center), and in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. The No. 9 pick wants to be able to mesh with his new team as soon as possible when training camp begins in early October.
"It'll definitely be a grind time when I get back home," he said. "I'm looking forward to it."
His biggest emphasis between now and then?
"Just consistency," said Burke, who averaged 9.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists during the Jazz's summer league games. "Consistency on my shot, consistency on making the right reads, the defensive end, getting better in the pick-and-roll defense. I think if I just polish up those areas, then I'll be a much better player."
As for Gobert and Neto, their performances reconfirmed why the Jazz were so excited that they were able to make deals on draft night to get them on the team.
Neto (5.0 ppg, 2.5 apg) was the first person Corbin mentioned when he was asked Friday to cite things he'd learned from summer league.
"We got a chance to look at Raul," he said. "We got a chance to see him on the floor around our guys and see how his game has grown."
The crazy part about Neto's strong showing was how he was only able to observe the Jazz practice and play from Wednesday through Tuesday when his FIBA clearance for summer league finally arrived.
It still remains uncertain whether the 6-1 point guard from Brazil will play pro ball in Spain or in the NBA this season. The way he effectively ran the Jazz offense — despite not practicing — certainly gave Utah brass a lot to think about when it comes to having him stay overseas or join the team this fall.
"I don't know," Neto said when asked about his future, which would require a buyout for him to play for the Jazz in 2013-14. "I just did my job, just play like I play and my teammates do well. Now I have to wait and see what's going to happen."
In the meantime, Neto will return to Brazil. He'll spend a couple of days with his family — most of which hasn't seen him since he was drafted — before beginning his training with his country's national team ahead of the America Cup qualifications for next summer's World Cup.
Gobert will also head home to France, where he'll undergo a minor surgery on his foot (equivalent of an ingrown toenail procedure), rest and rehab for two weeks, procure his work visa and then return to Utah in August to train for his first NBA season.
With his defensive presence and nimble offensive moves, the 7-foot-1 center (5.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.3 bpg) might have been the most impressive Jazz surprise of the summer league.
"We got a chance to look at Rudy, and his size and different things he can do on the floor, clogging up the middle and where we have to get his body stronger and the positions that we can put him," Corbin said. "Surprised or not, I was just happy with the way he played."
Gobert said he became more comfortable as the week progressed, but the 21-year-old knows he has room for improvement, especially on the offensive end.
"I know I've got some moves. I know I can finish," he said. "But I've just got to get more aggressive and don't be scared to take the shot. That's hard to just get used to take the shots and be aggressive."
Corbin also left pleased with the way Evans (fourth season) and Burks (third season) played like established veterans.
On offense, Corbin said he wanted Evans' confidence to grow in shooting those mid-range jumpers and asserting himself offensively. Defensively, the coaching staff wanted to see the 6-9 forward (10.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg) try to guard bigger bodies in the post.
The Jazz coach added that he wanted to see Burks (14.0 ppg) initiate the offense as a point guard and "be more aggressive for himself" when he's playing shooting guard. Corbin also wanted the possible starter to more effectively stay in front of guys on the defensive end and to learn how to properly control his body while stepping over screens.
"They showed themselves well," Corbin said.
The coach didn't want to single out non-roster guys who played well, but shooting guard Chris Roberts looked smooth while leading the Jazz in scoring (14.8 points per game on 55 percent shooting). Shooting guard Dionte Christmas gave hustle on defense with some offensive explosion, while big men Tony Gaffney, James Mays and Rasid Mahalbasic showed promise. Jerel McNeal, who has a non-guaranteed deal with Utah after ending last year with the Jazz, also played well in spurts.
It wouldn't be surprising to see any of them join the team at veterans camp this fall.
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