Jazz pick 6-11 center Kanter, guard Burks

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The Utah Jazz filled two needs in Thursday’s NBA draft, using the No. 3 pick on 6-11 center Enes Kanter of Turkey, then taking Colorado guard Alec Burks at No. 12.

They never got the chance to take local favorite Jimmer Fredette as he was drafted No. 10 by Milwaukee.

The 6-6 Burks has the size to play in the NBA, and the inside shooting touch, averaging 20.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists for Colorado.

While Fredette was a guy who could bomb 3s from anywhere, Burks is more of a shooting guard who can rebound and defend, with a 36-inch vertical jump. He hit better than 50 percent of his shots overall but less than 30 percent from 3-point range.

“With my athleticism and the way I handle the ball, I just feel like there aren’t a lot of people that can stay in front of me,” 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.

“I hit the 3s in college when I needed to. … My versatility is my greatest asset.”

In Kanter the Jazz get their coveted big man, especially considering the injury issues that have plagued Mehmet Okur.

The 19-year-old Kanter was considered the best center in the draft, with raw skills and NBA size.

He is a bit of a mystery as he hasn’t played basketball in nearly a year after being ruled ineligible at Kentucky.

“It was so difficult because I couldn’t play,” Kanter said. “I still didn’t give up. I knew in the end I would be fine.”

Kanter showed flashes at the 2010 Nike Hoops Summit, scoring 34 points for the World Team to break Dirk Nowitzki’s record (33). He also was Most Valuable Player for the 2009 Turkish Under 18 National team.

“I will bring the team toughness and post moves, rebounding, everything,” Kanter said. “I will try to do everything to make the playoffs.”

He also said he already feels at home in Utah, with fellow Turkey native Okur “like family” even though the two have never met.

Jazz President Randy Rigby announced the first pick at Utah’s downtown Salt Lake City arena, where more than 7,000 fans showed up to cheer on a team that they hope is rebuilding for the playoffs.

The Jazz finished 39-43, only the second time in the last 28 years they finished below .500. They also are the only team in NBA history to start 15-5 and 27-13 and not make the playoffs.

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