Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz point guard Trey Burke (3) passes around Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert (55) during first half action in the Utah Jazz versus Indiana Pacers at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah Thursday, December 5, 2013.
Utah Jazz: Trey Burke emerges as Rookie of Year candidate
NBA » Burke is averaging 12.4 points per game this season.
First Published Dec 17 2013 04:40 pm • Last Updated Dec 20 2013 04:54 pm

Orlando, Fla. • Trey Burke sat at his table on draft night, dressed in a blue suit with a gold tie, and waited for his name to be called.

The Cavaliers surprised everyone by picking Anthony Bennett out of UNLV. Orlando took Victor Oladipo. The Pelicans seemed a likely landing spot, but a trade brought veteran point guard Jrue Holiday to New Orleans to fill the need. The Detroit Pistons skipped on the Michigan man, too.

At a glance

Jazz at Magic

O Radio »  1280 AM, 960 AM, 97.5 FM

Records »  Jazz 6-21; Magic 8-17

About the Jazz »  Playing the second game of a five-game road trip and coming off a blowout loss in Miami. ... Guard Alec Burks scored a career-high 31 points against the Heat.

About the Magic » Have won just two of their last 10 games but have returned to central Florida for a two-week homestand.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The kid from Columbus, Ohio, who had been overlooked by some as a recruit only to take the Wolverines to the NCAA title game while being named the best college basketball player in the country had been passed over by eight NBA teams before he took to the stage.

Burke has taken the reins of the Utah Jazz and finds himself near the top of the heap in early Rookie of the Year talks a quarter of the way through his rookie season.

"I feel like I’m in the right spot," he said Tuesday morning. "We have a growing team. We’re really young. I feel like we’re going in the right direction."

That doesn’t mean Burke has completely forgotten.

"It gives me a little motivation going into those games," said the point guard as he prepared to face Oladipo and the Magic on Wednesday night.

Of the eight players taken ahead of Burke, Oladipo is seen as the biggest competitor for the rookie prize. But while Burke said winning the award is a goal, it’s not something he spends much time thinking about.

"It’s not something I’m stressing over," he said. "I’m just trying to play my game. ... That’s just putting extra pressure on yourself. I’ve played better when I just go out there freely. Don’t think about that and just play the game."

Burke was Vegas’ favorite for Rookie of the Year before the season, but a fractured right finger in preseason cost him the first 12 games of the season. Burke has climbed up the rookie ladder since his return.


story continues below
story continues below

"Since he’s been healthy, he’s changed that team," Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Once he got healthy and he got into the mix, it’s not a coincidence that everything starts to look a little bit more organized. That’s what happens with very good guard play. He has a very promising future. But that future is already happening right now."

While Burke was hurt, both Oladipo and Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams, a point guard drafted one pick after Burke, dazzled at times. Carter-Williams, in particular, showed flashes of brilliance.

The three guards are the league’s top scoring rookies, with Carter-Williams averaging 17.7 points a game to Oladipo’s 13.8 and Burke’s 12.4.

Carter-Williams and Burke also are one and two in assists, averaging 7.3 and 4.9 a night, respectively. But Burke’s assist-to-turnover ratio is nearly twice as good (3.7 to 2) as the Philly guard’s.

Oladipo, meanwhile, is a top-five rookie rebounder and is dishing 3.5 assists a night.

Burke is coming off a poor performance Monday night in Miami, a game in which he hit just 1 of his 8 attempts and finished with just three points.

But Jazz coach Ty Corbin has seen Burke’s work ethic and steady demeanor, and he expects his young floor general to bounce back against Orlando.

It’s a matchup Burke said he’s looking forward to. Oladipo’s Indiana Hoosiers beat Burke’s Wolverines twice a season ago, including once while Michigan was ranked No. 1. The two were standing side by side at the end of the season, waiting to hear who had won the Wooden Award for the nation’s best player.

A year later, they’re in a battle for another title.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.