Locker Room Cleanout Part 3: Trey Burke, Alec Burks and Rudy Gobert
** Did you hit a rookie wall?
Absolutely. It was kinda, I was kinda getting, you know, worried about my play after that Detroit game, and you know, how bad I started playing. And I don’t feel like I played awful, just my shooting percentage and you know, it was like that wall really hit me. So these last couple games, I, you know, realized that I’ve gotten a lot better too. And I credit that to Johnnie Bryant, the coaching staff, my teammates. And you know, Imma continue to work. I know this off-season is big for me, and I look forward to coming back even a much better player.
** Why didn’t this team play at a faster pace?
I don’t know. To be honest with you, I don’t know. But I think coach Ty[rone Corbin] and the coaching staff, they told us to play at a fast pace, and I think a lot of that had to do with me, you know, me not pushing it as much as I should have or could’ve…I think that’s definitely a style, you know, the certain style we’re gonna play next ye–or next season, is pushing the ball. And that’s when we’re best, man. We’re a pretty good team, in my opinion, when we push the ball.
** How was the floor different for you with Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter on the floor, versus Favors or Kanter with Marvin Williams?
It was different for me because the two bigs was kinda tougher for me, obviously, because we didn’t have a guy who could just pop out and I could kick it back to and hit that jump shot like Marv. But you know, it was a little better for me as well when the bigs were in there because the screens were a little better. You know, I was able to hit that roll man more. With Marv, he was popping out. Sometimes, he may settle a little too much with jump shots. But [with each of these looks], I have to be able to know what, you know, where our, you know, our advantages are, and have to be able to take advantage of that at the point guard.
** What did John Lucas III mean to you this season?
He meant a lot, man…He’s been like a big brother to me, to be honest with you. You know, he, we, I could talk to him about anything. You know, we compete against each other every day, and you know, I’m sure he was kinda frustrated, obviously, not playing as much as he did in the beginning of the season, but you know, you can’t say enough about a guy like John, ’cause he sacrificed for the team. You know, he made sure I’m doing the right things, and you know, I appreciate it.
** You earned a starting job as a rookie. Do you still have a chip on your shoulder?
Yeah, definitely. I still have a chip on my shoulder. You know, just having the starting job isn’t enough, and you still have to earn everybody around the league’s respect, you know, every time you go up against them. So, there’s gon always, I feel like there’s gon always be a chip on my shoulder.
** Playoffs next year?
Next year, hopefully. Hopefully, you know, that’s the goal, definitely. You know, we got a young team, but we can’t keep saying that, man. It’s gon be a point where that young team has to, you know, start to produce, and I think, you know, we’re in the right direction.
** On impending fatherhood
It’s a blessing, man. I’m excited. I’m really excited. You know, a lot of people axe me if I’m scared. Not really…I’m excited, man. I’m looking forward to meeting the little one.
** Who are you in this league?
I think I’m a good, I’m a great player in this league. That’s what I think I am.
What kind of player is that?
Killer. Killer on both sides.
** What did you learn the most this season?
Learned, you know, you gotta be ready at all times. You know, ’cause this league, kill or be killed. So, that’s what I learned.
** Do you feel like you made a statement this year?
I feel like I proved I can do what, when I get the time, you know? I feel like I improved a lot over the year, you know? Just got better over the season…I did what Ty wanted me to do, and I did it to the best of my abilities.
** What do you think you can become in this league?
I think I can become a great player in this league, you know, with my abi–my athletic ability and my potential. You know, I feel like I can be real good in this league.
Can you be a first offensive option?
I definitely can. I feel like I got the talent to be. You know, I got the competitiveness to be, and I feel like I can.
** Response to four consecutive questions from David Locke on his contract situation
It’ll all work itself out, you know? … It’ll all work itself out. That’s all I gotta say. It’ll all work itself out. That’s all I gotta say about it. … It’ll all work itself out. It’ll all work itself out, you know? That’s what I believe in.
** How do you feel your season went?
For myself, I would say pretty good. Like, pretty good, because I think I got way better, way stronger. After, of course, I didn’t play a lot, you know, I wish I would’ve played more. But you know, that’s how it is…I got better. I learned a lot. I know the league well, so you know, I think, good. … I’m fine. Of course I would love to play more, but there are Enes [Kanter], Derrick [Favors], Marvin [Williams] came back. So you know, that’s how it is. And I can’t be crying. I just gotta move forward.
** Are you going to fill a rookie’s car with popcorn next year?
We’ll see, you know? Maybe, I might wait a couple of years to let the vets, you know, do their job. And if the rookie don’t do the job, yeah. But if they’re cool, you know, I’ll just let them go. You know, I’m not gonna bully the rookies.
** What were the main things you worked on with Alex Jensen this year?
Every day, we’re working on my shot, I would say. My shot…my post game too. My shot, my free throws, my ‘ooks, yeah. You know, just the main thing for big men. But I would say mostly my shot.
** What do you need to work on, strength-wise?
The main thing is the legs, you know? Legs, and the core, from the knees to the chest, you know, be able, like, nobody can push me if I’m this strong. Like, nobody can push me. I mean, I think nobody gonna be able to score on me. I’m already a good, very good defensive player, but if I get way stronger and nobody able to push me, you know, I’m longer, I can jump higher, so who can score on me?
** How important was it for you to finish the season on a high note?
That was important for me, you know, just to, for me, and just to show my progress end of season. You know, I know I didn’t play that much, but I just try to show, you know, show them all the time. And I think I did pretty good. And I just can’t wait for the next season and summer league to have, give me more playing time.
** Who was your mentor on the team this season?
Rich[ard Jefferson]. I would say Rich, and Andris [Biedrins] was talking to me. He helped me a lot, you know, about defense and about outside the court too. I would say Andris, yeah. And recent, Rich.