Trey Burke Injury: Options to Replace Injured Utah Jazz Point Guard
According to a report from the Deseret News' Jody Genessy, Trey Burke will be out 8-12 due to surgery on a broken finger on his shooting hand.
Trey Burke needs pins in his fractured index finger. He will be out 8-12 weeks after surgery, per his agent.— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) October 14, 2013
So, the question is: How do the Jazz shore up their rotation at point guard?
As I see it, Utah basically has three options. They can explore free agency, hit the trade market or stand pat with John Lucas III and potentially Alec Burks (who played some point guard last season).
Since this was always going to be a rebuilding year anyway, there might not be a real sense of urgency if they choose to go with one of those first two routes. But 8-12 weeks is a long time and the team will have to seriously consider replacing their rookie point guard.
All those little bones and joints in hands can be tricky. And Burke taking a bit longer to get back then original reports are suggesting is not surprising.
I broke a bone in the ring finger of my right hand during my senior season in college, and the initial diagnosis was similar to Burke's. However, it took a few weeks longer to come back because of some damage to the knuckle that initially went unnoticed.
Obviously, the medical and training staff working with Burke is going to be much more experienced and thorough than the one I dealt with at Southern Virginia University. But the point I'm making is that adding a point guard may become more important than we think right now.
There are a few point guards left in free agency that could give Utah a little more depth at point guard, and all would likely be willing to sign a one-year contract.
If they want to go for a veteran, Sebastian Telfair could be an option. He's played nine seasons in the NBA. And although he's never lived up to the hype that surrounded him coming out of high school, he has put together a quietly solid career.
For someone who might fit a little better into the youth movement in Utah, the Jazz could look at Rodrigue Beaubois. At 25, he's three years younger than Telfair and has shown the ability to be an explosive scorer at times during his career.
During his rookie season, he averaged 7.1 points in just 12.5 minutes a game and exploded for a career-high 40 points against the Warriors in March, 2010.
Another veteran option could be Jamaal Tinsley—who played for the Jazz over the last two seasons. He already knows coach Tyrone Corbin's system and was a solid playmaker, averaging 8.6 assists per 36 minutes with Utah.
Shortly after news of the injury broke, ESPN's Marc Stein reported that the Jazz might try to trade for Chicago's Marquis Teague.
He's a solid athlete, but hasn't shown to be much more over the last two years with the Kentucky Wildcats and Chicago Bulls. You can check out a more thorough argument on why I think Utah should avoid surrendering any assets for Teague that was published yesterday.
Because he's buried on the depth chart behind Greivis Vasquez and Isaiah Thomas at point guard and Marcus Thornton and Ben McLemore at shooting guard, and in the last year of his contract, the Kings may be looking to move Jimmer.
Despite never finding consistency from his coaching staff or team management, Fredette managed to become a dangerous three-point specialist last season. He hit 41.7 percent of his three-point attempts and his range would keep defenders on the perimeter, creating space in the lane for Alec Burks, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
How should the Jazz react to Trey Burke's broken finger?
When initial reports were suggesting a 3-6-week timetable, this was what I thought the Jazz would do. Like I said earlier, there isn't a ton of urgency. Everyone in Utah was pretty much assuming this team was headed for the 2014 lottery regardless of whether Burke plays the first couple weeks of the regular season.
But with weeks now shifting to months, the narrative changes a bit. They could still go with Lucas for now, while giving Burks and Scott Machado an opportunity to show what they can do with more minutes at the position.
But it certainly wouldn't hurt to explore the other options that are out there.
All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference unless otherwise noted.
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