Grabbing a point guard was undoubtedly the chief concern of the Utah Jazz as they went into the 2013 NBA Draft. After losing free-agent Mo Williams, the Jazz had very little help on their roster at the position and were looking for an influx of talent in that regard. Coming into draft night, though, it didn’t look like they were going to be able to get as high-caliber of a player as they would have liked.
The Jazz held two first-round picks coming into the draft, but those picks were the 14th and 21st selections. In a draft class that isn’t particularly deep, that seemed a little late to get a point guard that would help them moving forward. Then, the Minnesota Timberwolves emerged as trade partners, swapping the ninth-overall pick for the Jazz’s two first-rounders. That trade landed Utah Michigan star Trey Burke.
Coming off leading the Wolverines to the National Championship game last season, there’s no denying Burke’s skill-level and potential to succeed at the pro level. Though he might be a bit undersized, he has great ball-handling, scoring, and leadership abilities that all bode well for his future as an NBA point guard.
However, his potential is going to have to wait to be realized. On Sunday night as the Jazz took on the Los Angeles Clippers in preseason action, Burke suffered a broken right index finger, per Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. There is no timetable set for his return yet as he will be reevaluated on Monday.
Through his first three preseason games and in the Las Vegas Summer League, Burke has struggled to adjust to the NBA game, specifically in terms of getting his shot to fall. In the preseason, he shot just 9-30 from the field and averaged just seven points per game. It’s clear he still has some learning to do at this level before he becomes the player the Jazz hope he can be.
The injury to Burke isn’t one that will likely affect him a great deal when he does eventually return, but it’s certainly disappointing for him to not get more run in the preseason. For a young player that’s going to be thrust into a large role in Utah this year, preseason play is of high value. Burke will still be a big part of the Jazz in the regular season, but it may take him a little longer to get comfortable in NBA action than it would have if he was healthy.