Trey Burke’s game-winner against the Orlando Magic brought mixed reactions from Jazz fans, some of whom wouldn’t mind seeing the team lose the rest of its games with the hope of improving draft position.
The 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds to play gave the Jazz their 23rd win of the season, keeping them in stride with the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers for the fourth worst record in the NBA.
Burke’s reaction, however, was not mixed.
“I think that’s just selfish for a fan,” the point guard said. “We play hard, practice hard every single day. Why would we go out there and try to lose? I just think wherever we do land in the lottery, that will be great for us. But to try to tank games and lose games is just absurd.”
The Jazz have 11 games left after Monday’s bout with the Detroit Pistons, after which attention will shift to the May lottery and the June draft. Until the season ends, the talk of tanking will persist.
“As a player, that kind of sucks that they’re rooting for us to lose but you see where they’re coming from,” said Gordon Hayward, who found Burke in the corner for the 3. “I think we’re mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Fans just want to be better for coming years. But as players, we just want to win every game.”
Alec Burks limped to the locker room before Monday’s game with his left foot in a protective boot. The backup guard did not play against Detroit, the second straight game he’s missed due to a sprained ankle, but his coach does not believe the injury will keep him out much longer.
“He came out this morning and ran a little bit, so I think he’s close,” Jazz coach Ty Corbin said. “You just don’t want to take a chance at this juncture.”
Corbin said he wants to see Burks, who is averaging 13.8 points and 3.3 rebounds a game in his third year with the Jazz, make it through a full practice before he’s cleared to play again. Burks is officially listed as day to day. The Jazz play again Wednesday, when they host Memphis.