After being drafted in the first round by the Utah Jazz, Trey Burke’s stated goal was to become the NBA’s Rookie of the Year.
That probably won’t happen.
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Burke will undergo surgery Tuesday in Salt Lake City on his fractured right index finger, which will severely impact his first professional season.
Jazz spokesman Jonathan Rinehart says Burke’s timetable for a return won’t be known until after the surgery.
In a text regarding how much time Burke will miss, father/agent Benji Burke wrote, "Nobody knows."
At this point, however, it appears Trey Burke will be sidelined 2-3 months. That is the typical recovery time needed for his type of injury.
"It’s unfortunate," coach Tyrone Corbin said Monday morning. "It’s part of the business, being hurt and seeing how he responds. But it’s unfortunate that it would happen now — in training camp. He was learning a new game and new way to play. He was making great strides."
The big question, of course, is what will the Jazz do in the aftermath of Burke’s injury?
It’s unlikely Utah will trade for an established, costly point guard, given general manager Dennis Lindsey’s desire to remain financially flexible as his team heads into a period of rebuilding.
Said Corbin: "You have to look at where you are and the marriage you can have with a guy. ... [But] looking at it right now, that probably doesn’t fit where we are."
According to Corbin, the Jazz have been checking into the possibility of signing a veteran free agent, but the price must be right for a deal to be completed.
"We’re looking at the list of available guys now — guys that may be available down the road," he said. "... In the short term, we may be able to bring somebody in.
"[But] there are not a lot of guys out there because everybody’s in camp. [And] a couple of guys not in camp are looking for more [money] than what we have to offer right now."
The Jazz could move forward with the players who remain in training camp.
Veteran John Lucas III, who was signed partly to mentor Burke, seems destined for a much more significant role. Free agents Scott Muchado and Lester Hudson are also on the roster, although neither has played much in Utah’s three preseason games.
One thing is clear: Corbin and Lindsey seem reassured by the presence of Lucas, even though he has started only two games in a five-year NBA career.
"Not that we have a crystal ball," Lindsey said, "but the one thing John was able to do in Chicago a few years ago was appropriately support another young point guard — Derrick Rose. When Derrick went out, John was able to play effectively enough to allow Chicago to remain competitive."
If the Jazz don’t add another point guard, it’s also certain shooting guard Alec Burks will get an opportunity to play the position. He filled in last season, when Mo Williams and Earl Watson struggled with injuries.
"I’m ready for it now, more than I was last year," said Burks, who spent part of the offseason working with former Jazz star John Stockton in Spokane, Wash.
What did he learn from Stockton?
"I’m taller than most point guards, so he said to use that," Burks said. "[And] all the little tricks he used to use. So it was good."
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