Jazz draft picks arrive with chip on shoulder

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The newest members of the Utah Jazz arrived in Salt Lake City on Friday with something to prove, center Enes Kanter because he hasn’t played in 14 months and guard Alec Burks because he’s always been somewhat overlooked.Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor said those qualities make the two first-round draft picks a perfect fit in Utah, especially as they join players still upset about missing the playoffs last season and a coach about to embark on his first full year in charge.”I see a little attitude and a little frustration from all of us in that we want to be able to make it right and be building in the right direction,” O’Connor said.The 6-11 Kanter and 6-6 Burks give the Jazz size and toughness, not to mention more youth. Both are 19, which means four players 21 or younger could figure in the Jazz rotation next season.Kanter is expected to compete for minutes at center and power forward, while Burks has the versatility to play shooting guard and a little point guard.Their development, however, could be on hold if there is an NBA lockout.If that happens, Kanter said he will go home to his native Turkey and play for his national team, hopefully against the likes of Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol in the European League.”I think that will keep me in shape, make me ready for the NBA,” said Kanter, who already is an impressive physical specimen despite being forced to sit out last year when he was declared ineligible at Kentucky. He has a 7-foot-1 wing span, weighs 262 pounds and has just 5.9 percent body fat.Jazz strength coach Mark McKown said Kanter is a physical player like former NBA player Rafael Araujo, who once shattered a backboard with a dunk.”He was a beast,” McKown said of Araujo. “Enes is almost a beast. And he will be a beast.”Jazz coach Ty Corbin got an up-close look at Kanter when he worked him out privately in Chicago several weeks ago.The two men went one-on-one, and Corbin ended up on the floor.Of course, Corbin was quick to note he’d been fouled.”I wanted a better feel of what he had in the post, see his moves after contact,” Corbin said.Kanter didn’t disappoint.Then again, he’s been mixing it up in the post since he was 15.That’s when he started playing professional basketball overseas, often going against men 15 to 20 years older.”They made me tough,” Kanter said. “They were going hard, and they were really great players.”Burks doesn’t have the 3-point range that BYU star Jimmer Fredette has. But he said he’s a better outside shooter than the 29 percent number he put up at Colorado.Burks said proving critics wrong is what he does, especially after being under-recruited out of high school.”That chip on my shoulder only added to my confidence,” said Burks, the first Colorado player in school history to score over 770 points, grab 240 rebounds and hand out 100 assists in a single season.Marketing a national sensation like Fredette would have been easy. But Jazz President Randy Rigby said not to underestimate what winning will do.”When people see the tools Alec Burks brings to this community, people will be happy,” Rigby said.O’Connor cautioned that fans will have to be a bit patient, though, as both draft picks are still teenagers.”It’s like being patient with a quarterback,” O’Connor said. “You have to go through some growing pains.”Miller said the fans in Utah will love Burks and Kanter if they work hard and compete hard.”We have a young team that we’re working hard to grow and develop into a great young team that one day will win an NBA championship for the fans here,” Miller said.First up for Kanter is to return that call left by Jazz big man Mehmet Okur, whom he said is as popular in Turkey as Nowitzki is in Germany.Burks, meanwhile, just wanted to get some rest. He couldn’t sleep the night before the draft, and didn’t sleep much Thursday night, either.”It’s hard to sleep when you just made your dream come true,” Burks said.

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