ORLANDO, Fla. — Nothing at all that happened in a few rough days of summer league play suggests that Trey Burke won’t be the point guard of the future for the Jazz.
But a touch of the brakes were applied to the timeline when the No. 9 pick in the draft took a position on the bench rather than the starting lineup for Wednesday’s win over Brooklyn.
“It was just a case of wanting to get him a little rest and maybe a chance to watch things from a different perspective,” said Jazz assistant Sidney Lowe, the team’s summer league coach.
“He’s going to be a good player. There’s no need to worry about Trey Burke right now.”
However, in two games Burke struggled mightily with his shot, missing 21 of 27 attempts and he turned the ball over four times in Utah’s second game, a loss to the Rockets on Tuesday.
Burke took in the game from a seat next to assistant coach Brad Jones, exchanging observations and getting pointers.
“It’s funny how you can sit on the sidelines and see so much more than when you’re out there in the middle of everything,” Lowe said. “The idea was to get Trey to watch the flow of the game, try to see how everything fits together. It’s huge for him to just be able to sit back and watch.”
As the collegiate national player of the year and the guy the Jazz traded up for on draft night to be the last piece in their starting lineup puzzle with their so-called “Core Four” of Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Alec Burks and Enes Kanter, Burke’s every move will be under the microscope by Jazz fans.
“I told him there’s a target on him,” Lowe said. “The expectations are there off and on the court. People are gonna come after you. All you can do is play hard execute.”
While Burke has struggled, two other rookies have had their moments to shine. Rudy Gobert has been effective at the defensive end. The 7-foot-1 French center has blocked seven shots in 58 minutes of playing time, changed others and has been effective on the boards. Brazilian guard Raul Neto, drafted in the second round and acquired in a trade from the Hawks, saw his first playing time Wednesday and in an often frantic 18 1/2 minutes, hit 2-for-3 from the field, scored seven points and also had four rebounds and three assists. Dionte Christmas, a summer league star a year ago with the Celtics, is making another bid for a training camp invitation with 10 points.
But those are all subplots to Burke, who said on draft night that he expected to be in the Jazz starting lineup in October and might be pushing himself a bit too hard and too fast to be effective right now.
“I’ve told him that the highs are not as high and the lows are not as low as you think they are,” Lowe said. “The thing is, he cares. I didn’t know that about him. He’s a serious young man. He’s got that side of him where he really wants to be good. It’s good to see that he cares.”
It will be better to see that shot start to fall.