Portland, Ore. • On their way to winning the All-Star Weekend’s Skills Challenge, Portland point guard Damian Lillard took the first leg and Jazz rookie Trey Burke took the second.
Back to the grind of the regular season, the Jazz wouldn’t mind seeing Burke follow the former Weber State star’s path in other ways.
“He’s a great player, a young player who has gotten better every night out there on the floor,” Utah coach Ty Corbin said of Lillard, the league’s reigning Rookie of the Year. “It’s a great example for him to understand the work it takes to get better in this league.”
Burke didn’t know Lillard before this year, but said they developed a relationship in New Orleans, talking in the locker rooms and during media events.
Burke’s takeaway: “Just his competitive nature, just seeing how he likes to compete.”
Who they are
Corbin has talked often this year about developing an identity as a team, “finding out who we are.” Now, as the season’s final stretch begins, Corbin and the Jazz at least know who they have. Thursday’s trade deadline passed without any moves for the Jazz, bringing some relief to players.
“It’s just one less thing you can stress about,” Corbin said of the deadline. “They can just go out and play. We are who we are.”
“I think across the NBA there’s a sense of ‘OK. This is who we are and now let’s finish this off the right way,” said veteran forward Richard Jefferson.
Hopefully everyone enjoyed the All-Star break, because things are about to get busy for the Jazz. Including Friday, the Jazz will play 29 games in the next 54 days.
“If we can get our rhythm back, it will be good for us,” Corbin said.