GREENBURGH, N.Y. – Trey Burke was the biggest star of the NCAA Tournament and the first point guard selected in the 2013 Draft. So he should have been one of the best players at the Orlando Summer League. Instead, Burke shot just 13-for-54 (24 percent) and made just one of his 19 3-point attempts. It was a rough start to Burke’s NBA career, at least in terms of his shooting.
Still, Burke will likely be the starting point guard when the Utah Jazz open their season against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Oct. 30. With the departures of Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Mo Williams, the Jazz are going young. The 23-year-old Gordon Hayward should be their oldest starter.
Earlier this month, I spoke with Burke at the annual Rookie Photo Shoot, where his fellow rooks voted him as the best playmaker in the class:
NBA.com: How would you grade your summer league performance?
Burke: I’ll say D+, because I feel like I did good in all my other areas, but I just shot poorly. Why? I don’t know. I’ve never shot that poorly before. I think I lost a little bit of confidence after the first game, not shooting well and then trying to adjust to the new system, new players and stuff like that. Besides the shooting part, I think I did pretty well. But I still don’t think it was any higher than a C.
NBA.com: What kind of feedback did you get from your coaches?
Burke: The coaches felt like I did good. Honestly, my shooting percentage wasn’t what they were expecting, watching my play at Michigan. But as far as running the team, getting the team into sets, picking my spots out there on the court, they think I did a really good job at that.
NBA.com: What do they want you to do before camp starts?
Burke: Just continue to stay consistent with my shot, which, in my opinion, isn’t a problem with me … as well as making that play right when it’s there, not taking that extra dribble … getting the ball up the court with a certain amount of time on the shot clock. I think that’s a big adjustment for me, the time going from 35 seconds to 24 seconds. That’s a lot of time.
NBA.com: Do you watch a lot of film?
Burke: I watch a lot of film.
NBA.com: Yourself or other players?
Burke: I watched a lot of myself last year. This summer, I watched a lot of Tony Parker, a lot of Chris Paul and how they’re so successful in pick-and-rolls. I felt like I was really good at Michigan. Now I’m trying to take it to that next level.
NBA.com: With the moves the Jazz have made, it’s your show. You ready for that?
Burke: Absolutely. I love challenges and this is one of the biggest challenges of my life. I’ve prepared for this challenge. I’m definitely looking forward to going in there and making an impact right away.
NBA.com: Is there a lot of pressure because you’re the starting point guard or not so much because expectations are low for the team?
Burke: I think it’s both. But with my mind set, I love to win, so I plan on winning. As bold as that sounds, I just plan on winning. I think it’s only pressure if you put the pressure on yourself. If I go out there trying to please the fans, trying please the coaching staff, rather than just playing my game, that’s where the pressure comes. But I think I’ll do just fine.