Washington, D.C. • For Trey Burke, the nights he isn’t taking on a top-flight point guard are the rare these days.
In the past month, he’s seen Damian Lillard, Goran Dragic, Kyrie Irving and, on Wednesday night, the Wizards’ All-Star floor leader John Wall.
“Trey wants to be one of those guys,” Jazz coach Ty Corbin said. “So he’ll have to make sure he understands what it going to take to step up and be that.”
One of those steps, Burke says, is improving his penetration.
“That’s one of the main focuses for me right now,” he said. “In college, a lot of times I was able to get into the paint and make plays. It’s tougher for me now.”
Denver’s Ty Lawson, San Antonio’s Tony Parker and Dallas’ Monta Ellis lead the league in drives per game, each averaging at least 10, according to the NBA’s SportsVu player tracking data.
Burke, on the other hand, averages 4.5 drives per game and his shooting percentage on drives is only 34.5 percent.
The rookie also needs to get to the free-throw line more, Corbin said.
Burke is averaging only 1.5 free throw attempts per game. Before getting to the line for four shots against the Indiana Pacers last week, Burke had gone four straight games without an attempt.
“I think that will get better as he gets more experience, learns to attack the basket, learns to hit guys and get the contact and be able to finish,” Corbin said. “It takes a little while to learn those crafty things. Where he may not be an athlete going vertical over guys, he can get into guys and create fouls that way.”
For the rookie Burke, dealing with the NBA’s size and speed has been an adjustment, though it’s a problem he believes he will ultimately crack.
“When I do get in the paint, it [opens] up things for everybody,” he said. “I should be able to do that to make plays for my team.”
Mr. Miller goes to Washington
After a public spat with Denver coach Brian Shaw resulted in his banishment from the team, former Runnin’ Ute Andre Miller is being embraced in Washington.
“When you bring guys like that in, they teach a lot,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. “The young guys see how they handle themselves, how they practice, how they conduct themselves on and off the floor. He gives us stability with that second unit. … He’s already kind of picked things up very quickly.”