Utah Jazz notes: Burke has handful of offseason goals
Notes • Rookie wants to strengthen injured index finger.
Published: April 17, 2014 08:22PM
Updated: April 17, 2014 10:12PM
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Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune Utah Jazz players, Ian Clark, left, Rudy Gobert, Trey Burke, and Malcolm Thomas, right, talk and check their cell phones in the locker room on the day the Jazz clean out their lockers after a disappointing 25-57 season, Thursday, April 17, 2014.

Trey Burke has one offseason goal that is unique among his teammates.

He wants to straighten out his right index finger.

Burke, the Jazz’s rookie point guard, fractured the finger during a preseason game against the L.A. Clippers in October.

He missed 12 games.

Burke ended up averaging 12.8 points and 5.7 assists in 32.3 minutes per game. But he disclosed during the team’s annual end-of-the-season meeting at EnergySolutions Arena on Thursday that his surgically-repaired finger has been problematic.

“It’s still stiff,” he said. “... It healed, but I’m not able to bend it all the way yet. I’m going to work on that a lot.”

Burke is already looking forward to next season, when he hopes to improve his outside shooting and ability to finish at the rim. He also wants to become a better defender.

Referring to Tyrone Corbin, Burke said, “Like coach Ty said, he knows I can defend. He’s seen me defend. ... It’s a mindset for me. I have to be willing to defend all the time. I think a good example of a small guarding defending is Chris Paul. ...

“If a guy scores on me once or twice, that’s when I get mad a try to stop him. But that shouldn’t be my mindset. It should be trying to stop him from the beginning to the end of the game, regardless of what happens.”

Yes, we can …play together

Can low-post big men Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter play next to each other and be effective?

No problem, according to Kanter.

“I think it’s crazy that people think we cannot play together,” he said. “I read all these articles and it’s crazy some people think we can’t play together. ...

“This is my third year with him. I feel so much more comfortable with him on the court. Offensively, defensively, both sides of the court. I know what he’s going to do and he knows what I’m going to do.”

Statistically, Kanter enjoyed a breakout season.

He averaged 12.3 points and 7.5 rebounds. He played a total of 2,138 minutes, or nearly 200 more than he did in his first two years.

Burks says greatness possible

Alec Burks also proved he belonged in the league this season. He averaged 14 points in 28.1 minutes, which has obviously reinforced his self-image.

“I think I can become a great player, with my athletic ability and my potential,” he said. “I could be real good in this league.”

Asked about eventually becoming a team’s No. 1 option on offense, Burks smiled and said, “I definitely feel I could be. I have the ability and the competitiveness.”