Adversity makes you stronger. That is the saying, right? Utah Jazz guard Trey Burke has dealt with his share–some his own doing. His former girlfriend retweeted a picture of his private parts. He joined in on Twitter mocking a handicapped man. And then, just this week, he walked out on a postgame media session after he didn’t start at Milwaukee.
And so you think to yourself, is this the kind of guy the Jazz want playing for their team? That was the question Burke had to answer on Sat. Jan. 24 as the Jazz entertained the Brooklyn Nets at the EnergySolutions Arena.
With Nets guard and former Jazz All-Star Deron Williams back in town, snapping photos with Jazz ambassador Mehmet Okur and others in the arena foyer before the game, you could tell there was an aura of intrigue surrounding the game.
Williams is clearly not the player he was in Utah, and Burke, well, he still has a lot of showing up and growing up to do. In his first game since escaping the throng of media wanting to talk to him, Burke got back a little respect–after he scored 19 points off the bench in the Jazz’ 108-73 pasting of Williams and his Nets.
While Burke didn’t say all the right things about his new role on the team, the former college player of the year at Michigan was at least honest about it all. “It’s new to me,’’ Burke said. “I don’t know if I’m comfortable with it, but I knew I had to be ready to play. It’s a different view of the game, but you definitely can see how the game’s going and how you can affect it.”
Burke drained four three pointers, the second straight game during which a Jazz player has hit four or more threes in a game. Despite being first off the bench on Saturday night, Burke still attempted the second most shots on the Jazz team.
He shot 7-of-13 from the field, 4-of-8 from behind the three point line. He also didn’t turn the ball over on a Jazz team sharing the ball. “The biggest thing we’ve talked about from the beginning of the year—and we kind of found it again last game—is being ‘obviously unselfish,’” Snyder said. “I felt like we had that tonight. Generally when we do that, good things will happen. And we played pretty good on top of that tonight. ”
Burke’s 19 points were a good start in the Jazz experiment to find out what makes them great. Two games into Snyder’s bright idea, they’re 2-0–with another game Monday night against Boston. At 16-28 overall, Burke is still going to take his lumps–as will the Jazz.
But, his outing off the bench goes to show himself and his teammates that he’s willing to sacrifice for his team. In the long run, it might be the best thing Burke has ever done–not just for them, but for him.