COMMENTARY | Trey Burke needed help.
That was clear when the 6-foot-nothin' point guard shot 13 of 54 -- including 1 of 19 from 3-point range -- during four summer league contests in July.
Fortunately, a former Utah Jazz great was willing to provide him with some assistance.
Hall of Famer John Stockton met with Burke in Spokane, Wash. for three days during mid-September.
Burke had a solid sophomore season last year, but, as I pointed out earlier, the 20-year-old has struggled so far as a Jazzman.
In Orlando, against guys like Myck Kabongo (undrafted), Donald Sloan (undrafted) and Patrick Beverley (No. 42 in 2009), the ninth overall pick in June's draft forced several shots and passes. By the end of the trip, Burke averaged just 8.8 points and 4.0 assists per game.
"(John) said in summer league he felt like I was rushing a lot of things -- playing really fast," Burke said. "He just told me to be patient out there."
Patience could be key to Burke's success this year. Especially on pick-and-rolls. If, for instance, his opponent goes under on a screen, the rookie would be wise to refrain from immediately taking an off-the-dribble 3, something he talked about with Stockton.
"I'm (now) going to call for the re-screen," Burke said, "then come off the screen and it's going to be a good pocket pass or five-foot jump shot."
Enough of those and Jazz fans could find themselves with a new catch phrase. Say "Burke to Favors"?
"We've already connected a couple times out in open gym," said the first-year floor general. "As well as Gordon (Hayward). You know every time I come off that screen, he's a guy I'm looking for."
If all goes well, Burke could be the final piece to Utah's youth movement, which already features Enes Kanter (21 years old), Derrick Favors (22), Gordon Hayward (23) and Alec Burks (22).
It's hard to know which of the five will take the lead role, or how many wins the group will collect -- I predicted 28 -- but one thing's for sure: All of the youngsters, particularly Burke, will be fun to watch.
Jared Bray is a regular contributor for Yahoo Sports covering BYU football and the Utah Jazz. He also reports in English and Tagalog (a language he picked up while serving a church mission in the Philippines) as the Salt Lake City correspondent for The Filipino Channel's "Balitang America."
- Sports & Recreation
- Trey Burke
- John Stockton
- Utah Jazz