The Utah Jazz introduced its three new draft picks to the media Friday. Trey Burke, Rudy Gobert and Raul Neto all join the young foundation the Jazz have built.
"I'm just thrilled for this opportunity," said Burke, the 9th overall selection who was acquired in a trade with Minnesota. "If you ask me, I feel like I can be an all-star in this league someday."
Burke's confidence stems from his outstanding career at Michigan, where he earned consensus national player of the year honors this past season. But is he ready to handle the pressure of being a starting point guard in the NBA?
"I think so," said Burke, who averated 18.6 points and 6.7 assists last season for the Wolverines. "I am definitely willing to come in and take that responsibility if the offer is there. I've always been a hard worker. They gave me the keys [to the franchise] at Michigan after I earned it, and I think I can make an impact here."
Burke may be handed the keys to the Jazz offense for the foreseeable future, because as of July 1st, the Jazz will not have any point guards under contract.
Rated as the top point guard in the draft, Burke is still only 20 years old. So how will he become a leader on a team of more experienced players?
"I think just by earning their respect," Burke said. "If I show them that I'm a hard worker, I'm a humble guy and I have a good heart, but at the same time I'm competitive and fierce out on the court, then I think they will allow me to eventually become a leader on this team."
Jazz fans already have high expectations for Burke, but head coach Tyrone Corbin is preaching patience.
"There's going to be an extremely high amount of pressure on young guys to come in and develop," Corbin said. "But we have to give him time to get comfortable. We have to see how he picks things up. We're expecting him to pick them up fast after watching his career. We think he's a quick learner, but the competition is different."
With Burke, the Jazz now have a young, talented player at every position. The Jazz could put out a starting five of Burke, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, all of whom are 23 years old or younger. This lineup appears to be the building block of the future.
"I think we have the beginnings of a foundation," said general manger Dennis Lindsey. "But as Ty alluded to, we can't skip any steps. We'll add some veteran leadership, but we're certainly excited about the guys we have under contract."
"We have all the right pieces," Burke said. "I think by adding me, we definitely can make a run and we can definitely win a lot of games this upcoming season."
As for Gobert, a 7-foot-2 French center, the Jazz hope he can add an immediate defensive presence.
"He has so much athletic ability," said Corbin. "He has a 9-foot 7-inch standing reach. He can run the floor, and he gets a joy out of blocking shots. That's one of the areas we talked about getting better at from last year."
Gobert was selected to play in the French Pro A All-Star game this past season, and led his league in blocked shots. Gobert really impressed the Jazz at his workout with the team earlier this month.
"It was a good workout for me," recalled Gobert, who was acquired in a trade with Denver after being selected with the 27th overall pick. "I just show what I do, defense, blocking shots, rebounding. I showed, too, that I was getting better on my shot and my post game. I'm just progressing and getting better."
There are no plans to keep Gobert, 21, in Europe. He plans on playing for the Jazz this season.
"It is my plan to get here and play this year right away," said Gobert. "I'm going to work to be ready for the beginning of the season."
Neto, the 47th overall pick, was acquired in a trade with Atlanta. As a 6-foot-2 point guard, he may not join the Jazz right away.
"We will see," Neto said. "A lot has to do with my agent and the team."
Neto played in the 2012 Olympics for Brazil, and was named MVP of Eurocamp 2013. Neto has played at the highest levels of European basketball, despite being just 20 years old. He learned about the Jazz through his father.
"My dad likes Utah Jazz," Neto said. "Because John Stockton, he likes how he played. So, he told me, 'I want you to get drafted by Utah Jazz.' So, I'm realizing his dream and my dream too. I'm so happy."
All in all, the Jazz are thrilled with the way the draft unfolded. Lindsey gave a lot of credit to Kevin O'Connor, the vice president of basketball operations, for information regarding trades to be made.
"A lot of things had to come together," said Lindsey. "But it was a great night for us, and we really look forward to getting to work."
The Jazz open summer league ball in Orlando July 7th.