SALT LAKE CITY -- NBA veteran Ray Allen has wisdom to impart to younger colleagues who have ears to hear. But first they must have a mind to wonder and a mouth willing to ask.
Fortunately for the Utah Jazz, rookie point guard Trey Burke wasn't afraid to speak up and inquire of the Miami Heat guard prior to last weekend's upset victory over the defending champs.
Hours before Utah's 94-89 win, Jazz assistant coach Sidney Lowe suggested Burke observe Allen's extensive warm-up ritual. Burke did so and not only saw how the 17-year veteran prepares for a game, he also heard some valuable advice.
"I see young guys all the time but I don't feel like I have to say anything to them unless they want to come to me -- or any other older guy -- and ask questions," Allen said following last Saturday's 94-89 loss at EnergySolutions Arena. "The fact that he was out there said a lot. I wanted to help him as much as I could if he had any questions."
Allen, 38, may have helped a little too much. Burke, 21, hit a clutch 17-foot jumper in the closing minutes to help secure a victory for the Jazz, who earned their 17th win of the season while handing the Heat just their 14th loss.
Allen didn't seem to mind. Of course he would have preferred having the game go Miami's way, but he has been around long enough to know losses are an inevitability over the course of an 82-game schedule. Seeing Burke have the confidence to hit a critical late-game shot was fun to see.
"You expect him to do it for a long time," Allen said. "It's great when he can go out there with confidence. He's very young in his career so being able to play against some good teams and start establishing some consistency in how he plays is what you'd expect from him."
Now well past the halfway point of his rookie season, Burke had been struggling going into the Miami game. His shooting had dropped off to just 37 percent from the field and 34 percent behind the 3-point line.
Having played more consecutive games than he'd ever played before, he recently alluded to hitting the famed "rookie wall" saying his legs feel tired as the All-Star break approaches.
"You do so much traveling, it takes a toll on your body," he said. "But this is where you have to be mentally tough, mentally strong."
Burke shot 5-for-11 from the field and hit three 3-pointers after talking to Allen.
"It was a good conversation," Burke said before Monday's practice. "We just talked about routine, getting on a consistent routine early on in your career (and finding out what) will help you efficiency-wise out there on the court. It's always good talking to a guy like Ray."
Now in his 18th NBA season, Allen has played more than 1,270 regular-season games and logged more than 45,000 minutes on the court. He is a career 45 percent shooter from the field and has made 2,919 3-pointers.
He is a fan favorite and is well respected among his peers because of his professional approach to the game.
The conversation between he and Burke was caught by television cameras and publicized even before the game began. Burke spoke about it before hand, as did Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin. However, when Allen was asked about it long after the game had ended, he seemed to feel protective of Burke.
As he stood inside an almost empty visitors locker room at ESA, long after most of his teammates had left, Allen was happy to talk about Burke as a player but didn't want to betray any confidences the two shared.
"I'll let him tell you (about the pregame chat)," he said. "It was between he and I, if he decides to let you in on it, then that's fine."
Burke was willing to share.
"I took a lot away from it," he said. "I talked to him for about 20 minutes and it was a great conversation. I grew up watching him play."
Finding ways to develop an efficient, consistent warm-up routine was a major part of the conversation, Burke said, but so too was the importance of getting proper rest, eating right and taking care of one's body.
"When you win, it's not time to celebrate," Allen said. "It's time to settle in and get ready for the next game. Too many times young players, you want to celebrate and you end up burning the candle at both ends. Then you end up playing catch-up again."
In Burke, the Jazz have found a player who has a serious approach and a strong work ethic. They began scouting him closely long before last year's draft and they target him as a player they wanted, believing he had the maturity to help them right away.
Corbin said the team spoke extensively with Burke's college coach, Michigan's John Beilein, who explained how Burke accepted great responsibility and stood out as a team leader, even as a freshman.
"We understood that he's a guy willing to put the work in," Corbin said. "We're seeing that with us, watching film, talking to coaches."
An example of that, Corbin said, was the impromptu meeting with Allen. It all began with a conversation between Burke and Lowe, who suggested that the rookie watch Allen's routine. Burke not only listed to Lowe, he took it a step farther and inquired of Allen personally.
Contact reporter Jim Burton at 801-625-4265, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @StandardExJimbo.