Wow. Jazz fans you really need to calm down. This is summer league. One more time; this is SUMMER league. This is NOT the NBA finals. This isn’t even the preseason. It’s summer league. Does everyone know what the purpose of the summer league is? It’s a tryout for journeyman players to show teams that they can add value to their team. It’s one more opportunity for these players to continue to chase their dream of someday playing in the NBA. For these guys, their main goal is to be noticed. For many of them it means to score as many points as possible so that they are seen the most, all else be damned. For guys under contract already however, it’s a completely different ball game.
Although the guys under contract for the Utah Jazz are trying to prove different things, they are trying to do it within the framework of the Jazz offense. Alec Burks is motivated to prove that he can be a main scoring option in the Jazz offense, but he does not go out of the offense to prove it. Jeremy Evans wants to show he can be a part of the rotation, but he’s not out there jacking up crazy shots. Rudy Gobert is proving that he can make an impact on defense RIGHT NOW! He is averaging 2.5 blocks per game and altering numerous other shots with his mere presence. He’s going to earn himself some minutes this season. Raul Neto was finally cleared to play today and did a good job. He is most likely to stay in Spain for one more season, however, but it’s good to see him get to know his future teammates. Now last but certainly not least, let’s talk about Trey Burke.
Trey Burke is going to be fine guys. He is going to be a very good floor general for this team and be big part of the future success of this franchise. Now let’s all take a deep breath for a minute and visualize what it might be like being in Trey Burke’s shoes. He’s just been drafted to be the franchise point guard of the Utah Jazz. He won all sorts of accolades recognizing him as the best player in college basketball. He is learning a new system. When he’s in the game with Burks and Evans it’s easier because those guys know where they’re supposed to be and what they’re supposed to do. All the other guys are trying to get theirs and are not necessarily running a system to perfection. That has to be frustrating to a point guard that’s trying to do the right thing while doing his on the job training.
Did I mention Trey Burke was College Player of the Year? Oh yeah I did. I know that, you know that, and guess what? Everyone else knows that too. When Trey is in the game the other team’s defense shifts their focus to him and he is constantly being double teamed and pressured. He’s got a target on his back. It’s a definite welcome to the big time young man, you’re playing with men now. No other point guards are receiving the same type of pressure and focus he is. Guess what? This will only help him to grow as a player. When asked about his summer league struggles, Jazz coaches do everything they can to not laugh out loud and are quick to point out that he’s doing a good job of doing what they’re asking him to do. Deron Williams went through the same type of learning curve his first summer league, Gordon Hayward too. When it was brought up to Hayward, he did laugh and he had his new teammate’s back as well.
Summer league is all about on the job training for young guys under contract and about survival for non-contract guys. When you throw those two groups together you get glorified jungle ball. For a guy who demands perfection like Trey Burke, it’s absolute chaos. The coaches are asking the contract players to show specific things they’ve worked on and to try and do new things they’re learning. The coaches, Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks, they’re not worried about Trey Burke and neither should we. He’s gaining a textbook he can take with him during the offseason. A base of knowledge to help him improve and be more ready for the regular season. This will be plenty of motivation for him and he is going to be fine. Calm down Jazz Nation!!