NBA

Jazz grab national player of the year Burke in draft day trade

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The Canadian Press
6/27/2013 11:07:14 PM
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SALT LAKE CITY -- The national player of the year is heading to Utah.

The Jazz obtained Trey Burke in a draft night deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves, who selected the Michigan point guard with the ninth pick in exchange for Utah's two first-rounders.

Burke was told he'd go as high as second in the draft and he started getting nervous.

"My mind was pretty much everywhere. I was just ready to figure out where I was going to finally end up. Now that I'm at Utah, I'm definitely thrilled for the opportunity," Burke said.

Burke is a pure pick-and-roll player who was the consensus national player of the year as a sophomore after leading the Wolverines to the national championship game.

As part of the deal, the Jazz took UCLA swingman Shabazz Muhammad at No. 14 and Louisville centre and Senegal native Gorgui Dieng at No. 21 for the Timberwolves.

Also, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that the Nuggets traded Frenchman Rudy Gobert, whom they selected with the 27th pick, to the Jazz for cash and the 46th pick.

The Jazz missed out on the playoffs for the second time in three years last season and have a young core of players that includes Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter and Derrick Favours that should benefit from the arrival of Burke.

The Jazz have just six players on the roster with guaranteed contracts for 2013-14, none of them point guards.

Burke won the Bob Cousy Award given annually to the nation's best point guard. He averaged 18.6 points and 6.7 assists last season when he led the Wolverines to their first Final Four since 1993.

Burke, who is small for an NBA guard at 6-foot-1, is known as a playmaker and often played his best in big games. He took care of the ball with a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio while crafting a reputation as one of college basketball's finest passers but his size may have led to his slide on the draft board.

"I think the type of player that I am, I definitely get motivated by things like that," Burke said. "Teams passing up on me. Not knowing what to expect at the end of the day. So I definitely think it will motivate me."

Scouts say Burke is most proficient running an offence featuring the pick-and-roll, a staple of the Jazz offence since the days of John Stockton and Karl Malone.

"I know I have some really good shooters around me," Burke said. "I think with the guys that the Jazz already have, we can get up and down the floor as well. But I think I'm going to be a guy that's going to bring the winning mentality to the team, that can make plays."

The crowd watching the draft at Energy Solutions Arena stood and cheered when the trade was announced.

In the first draft with general manager Dennis Lindsey at the helm, the Jazz made a bold move to fill a need. Lindsey, who was the assistant general manager for the San Antonio Spurs for five seasons before moving to the Jazz last season, brought nearly 70 players into Salt Lake City for workouts in the weeks before the draft in an unprecedented commitment to pre-draft, customized evaluations.

Burke, however, was not one of those who made a visit to Utah. Once he arrives, the Jazz hope he makes an immediate impact.

Gobert, on the other hand, may need a period of development before he brings his 7-foot-9 wingspan (the longest ever recorded at the NBA draft combine) and rebounding skills to Utah.

Trey Burke (Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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