SALT LAKE CITY -- Trey Burke for the NBA's Rookie of the Year? The thought has crossed his mind, sure. But it doesn't live there.
Before the Utah Jazz left for their annual pre-Christmas road trip, their 21-year-old point guard admitted he has briefly entertained the idea of the ROY award -- it's in the back of his mind somewhere -- but it hasn't made its way to the front.
"I mean, it's a goal that I think about at times but it's not something that I'm really stressing over," he said. "I'm just trying to play my game. (With) those type of goals you usually put pressure on yourself to go out there and perform at a level you may mess up. That's just putting extra, unnecessary pressure on yourself."
If Burke was feeling any added pressure during Wednesday night's 86-82 victory at Orlando, he handled it nicely.
Coming off a 1-for-8 performance in Monday's blowout loss to Miami, Burke shot 12-for-20 from the field, hit four 3-pointers and recorded eight assists and seven rebounds to help Utah earn its seventh win of the season.
His 30 points are the most scored by a rookie this season. He is also the first rookie to post 30 points, seven boards and eight helpers in a game since since the Clippers' Blake Griffin went 31-10-10 in April of 2011.
"Obviously you want to play good especially with the expectations that I put on myself and everybody else as well," Burke said following the game. "I feel when I go out there and play freely and I'm not thinking, I am at my best."
Burke continues to show why Jazz officials targeted him before last June's draft, and why they orchestrated a draft-night trade to bring him to Utah.
After missing the first 12 games of the season with a broken finger, he has solidified his place among the team's young stars, averaging 13.5 points and 5.1 assists per game.
In his last 10 games he has averaged 14.9 points and 6.4 assists.
Burke's numbers, not to mention his poise on the floor and the ease with which he plays, seem to provide a reason why the Jazz (7-21) played so poorly to start the season. Simply put, they didn't have a point guard.
Utah lost its first eight games to open the season and 11 of its first 12 before Burke finally made his debut. Since then the Jazz have gone 6-10, which isn't exactly a sizzling figure, but it seems to have provided some hope and a glimpse into the future.
"There are definitely moments where we show our potential and what we could be," veteran Gordon Hayward said Wednesday. "It is exciting to see that. I thought Trey did a great job today, especially after the game both he and I had in Miami.
"It was a good bounce back game for us."
Hayward, who was just 2-for-8 against Miami, scored 15 points on 6-for-15 shooting against the Magic.
Before Burke's emergence, Hayward was Utah's offensive workhorse and he paid the price for it as opponents focused their defenses on him.
But having Burke on the floor -- coupled with the recent play of sixth man Alec Burks--- the Jazz's offense has functioned more freely.
"(Burke) provides more of a threat from the point guard position," Hayward said. "He is able to (create) space and knock down shots and get to the rim. (He can) create for himself, create for others. It makes it more difficult (for opponents) when we add another weapon. With him out there it's hard for defenses to load up on the one side."
Even before his 30-point performance against Orlando, Burke's name was being thrown around in Rookie of the Year discussions. Not predominantly, of course, but still, he was starting to get some publicity behind Philadelphia's Michael Carter-Williams (17.7 points, 7.3 assists, 5.8 rebounds per game) and Orlando's Victor Oladipo (13.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.4 apg).
Burke certainly won the battle against his old college foe Oladipo on Wednesday.
Oladipo, whose Indiana Hoosiers routinely met up with Burke's Michigan Wolverines in the Big Ten Conference, scored just three points against the Jazz, shooting 1-for-12 from the field.
Although Burke was last season's NCAA Player of the Year, he wasn't taken until the No. 9 pick in the draft. Orlando took Oladipo with the No. 2 overall pick, bypassing both Burke and Carter-Williams (who was selected at No. 11).
After Wednesday's game Burke said he didn't feel he had anything to prove to the Magic for not picking him.
"That wasn't my main intention or my main goal," he said. "But I definitely wanted to come out and be really aggressive today. For me, I am trying to win and do whatever it takes for the team to win."
Contact reporter Jim Burton at 801-625-4265, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @StandardExJimbo.