Don't count Utah Jazz point guard Trey Burke among the league's advocates for tanking. The 21-year-old had strong words for fans when they greeted his game-winning three-pointer against the Orlando Magic with a lackluster reaction, per The Salt Lake Tribune's Aaron Falk:
I think that’s just selfish for a fan. We play hard, practice hard every single day. Why would we go out there and try to lose? I just think wherever we do land in the lottery, that will be great for us. But to try to tank games and lose games is just absurd.
The Deseret News' Jody Genessy notes that there's, "a big offseason prize up for grabs" and the risk of missing out on prime draft real-estate, "has put some fans in a conundrum this season."
But many will view Burke's comments as refreshing. They represent vocal confidence from an emerging young leader and—more importantly—refute a front-office trend of gutting teams' talent in an effort to bottom out for improved draft position. If Burke has his way, the Jazz won't go the way of teams like the Philadelphia 76ers.
The rookie point guard out of Michigan is having an outstanding season for the Jazz, so he's earned the capital to sound off. He's averaged 12.8 points and 5.3 assists in over 31 minutes per game for Utah, solidifying his place as one of the team's best young pieces.
To Utah's credit, tanking really isn't this club's style.
The organization could have traded away veterans Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap at any number of junctures, but held on to the big men for the durations of their contracts—competing for playoff berths while they still could.
Since their departures, the franchise has continued to pursue veteran talent like Richard Jefferson in an effort to keep the young squad competitive. The draft picks are nice, but so is giving fans a quality product.
Whether they appreciate it or not.