Utah Jazz fans who are feeling a little nostalgic for the past should also be looking forward to the future.
John Stockton is now working with Trey Burke and Alec Burks, attempting to improve their chances of eventually joining him up in the rafters of the EnergySolutions Arena. As relayed by Beyond the Buzzer, Utah president Randy Rigby went on The Big Show with Spence Checketts & Gordon Monson and said the following:
Alec [Burks] and Trey [Burke] are both actually working with John [Stockton]. They were able to get up this week and work with John, which again shows you the commitment we have from the Karl Malone’s, the John Stockton’s, the Jerry Sloan’s of helping us build this new team, this young team.
We’ve been really happy with the commitment of John to go and really support us in helping these young players not only on the floor, teaching them some tricks of the trade, but also more the philosophy and what it means, the opportunity to be playing for the Utah Jazz and playing in the NBA, and some things that they can do mentally as well as physically to become a better basketball player.
Not that you need much of a reminder, but Stockton was pretty darn good at running the show back in the '80s and '90s.
The legendary point guard is the all-time leader in assists by such a wide margin that his record is considered one of the sacred and unbreakable marks. He also drew quite a compliment from Gary Payton in recent days, as The Glove said that he was the toughest player he ever had to guard—tougher even than Michael Jordan.
Now he's attempting to pass down his skills to the newest generation of Jazz standouts.
Burke was the team's top pick in the 2013 NBA draft, and he's unquestionably the franchise point guard. The diminutive floor general drew rave reviews at Michigan, primarily because of his scoring and leadership skills. Thoughts of him with Stockton-esque passing chops and pick-and-roll skills should cause nightmares for the rest of the NBA.
As for Burks, Utah has consistently been trying to convert him into a combo guard.
He played almost exclusively at the 2 while balling for Colorado, and the addition of some true floor-general skills from Stockton will serve him well. Right now, the Jazz's only backup point guard is John Lucas III, so Burks having the ability to slide over is a big deal.
There are a lot of reasons to get excited about Utah's future.
HOOPSWORLD's Alex Kennedy agrees, but he also wants fans to exhibit a little bit of patience:
With that said, this young core will only get better in the coming years and the team will likely add another top prospect in the 2014 NBA Draft. Jazz fans have a lot to be excited about going forward, but they must stay patient.
The roster is overflowing with talent at each position, and the franchise appears to be doing everything possible to promote success.
Having Stockton mentor young players is only the latest step in realizing this team's full potential. And it's a pretty great one, as not many franchises can boast a mentor who's both in the Hall of Fame and willing to help.
The 2013-14 campaign will be rough in Salt Lake City, but the next few years are filled with promise. Burke and Burks will both be central figures for a long time, especially if Stockton's advice sticks with them.
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