Trey Burke will make season debut Wednesday night
Regardless of the outcome of that championship game, Burke had put his stamp on the tournament and made a name for himself as a potential difference-maker at the next level.
A lot of mock drafts had Burke going in the top-three of the 2013 NBA Draft, though he ended up slipping to the Utah Jazz at ninth overall - teams were likely concerned with his old school style of play and small stature, and found the high-flying elite athletes with better size more desirable. What the Jazz got in Burke, however, is a tenacious player who boasts great intangibles, including contagious intensity on both ends of the floor and a rare clutch gene.
Unfortunately, the NBA debut of the highly touted prospect was delayed by a fractured index finger suffered in mid-October. Though the initial report was that Burke would miss 8-12 weeks, Jazz fans were pleased to hear a corrected timetable of 4-6 weeks. Just about exactly five weeks later, Burke is now expected to make his debut on Wednesday night.
Burke should immediately see significant playing time for the Jazz, who are struggling worse than anyone in the league with a 1-11 record. Because Burke injured a finger, rather than a lower body part, his conditioning should be up to par, which will allow him to play heavy minutes.
In addition, the Jazz are insanely weak at the point guard position. They gave up on the Jamaal Tinsley experiment, waiving the veteran after he averaged 1.1 points and 2.9 assists across eight games (five starts). They even tried Alec Burks - a 6'6'' score-first shooting guard - out at the point, but he is clearly not a natural fit there. The team has now turned to John Lucas III as their starting guard. Lucas entered the season with two career starts in five NBA seasons, and he will start his fifth game of the year for the Jazz on Wednesday night, with Burke backing him up.
Burke struggled mightily in Summer League and the preseason, but rumor has it that he has been working very diligently to get on track to becoming a productive player. Burke has even worked out with Jazz legend John Stockton since bombing in Summer League. There are plenty of times when exhibition games do not indicate how a player will fare in regular season action - bad players often play well, and good players often play bad - and that could very well be the case with Burke.
It would not surprise me to see Burke earn the starting point guard job not too long after his debut. First of all, I think that Burke is a good player who provides an energy that lights a fire under the players around him. Second, the Jazz are dealing with such a messy point guard situation that Burke won't even need to play that well to be deemed the best option.
Regardless of if he is starting or coming off the bench, it will be certainly be fun to see a talented youngster finally take the court for an NBA team. He'll take on the New Orleans Pelicans in his debut, facing off with Jrue Holiday and impressive young backup Brian Roberts.