Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE
There's no analysis here. I'll leave that to our formal player previews that will come. Not a lot of stats or number crunching either. Just thoughts. Just feelings. Just getting back to writing from the fan side of me—talking about guys I like and guys I don't like; things I hope for and things I fear in the upcoming season.
I was so pissed when the Jazz drafted Alec Burks.
You see, back then I believed Hayward was without question a SG. Which meant that, long term, the team had a hole in the PG and SF spot. There weren't any terrific PG's available, but there was a SF named Kawhi Leonard that I would have given anything to have on the Jazz.
Well, we know what happened with Kawhi. San Antonio traded for him (proving to me that I was right ... Kawhi would be awesome). And then Kawhi had a ridiculous rookie season ... proving again that the dude could freaking play basketball.
But that's enough of Kawhi.
Now let's get back to the guy I didn't want: our own Alec Burks.
I tell about Kawhi to give you a bit of context to fit in my current opinion of Alec Burks: and that is Alec Burks is a stud.
Of all the players, he has the game, playing style, and attitude most likely to turn himself into an elite scorer. He's also the best passer on the team—and to me that isn't even close. He rebounds well for a SG, and he's shown flashes of terrific wing defense. I LOVE how he drives into the lane to draw fouls. Unlike others, he doesn't just flail his arms about when the contact happens ... he plans for the contact and does that beautiful doubl-clutch floater designed to get him as many and-1's as possible.
He has all the tools to be great for a long, long time.
And yes: it was insane to keep him on the bench so Raja, Josh, and CJ could muck their way through the season.
But that was yesterday. Now it's time to look to the future.
I don't know how good Alec Burks will eventually be. It's true that superstars have his game and attitude. It's also true that Jason Terry and Jamal Crawford has that kind of attitude. So the range of possibilities for Alec is pretty wide—from elite to "please get this chucker off my team!" And despite Burks' astounding ability to pass ... his actual assist numbers are pretty low. He either doesn't see or doesn't think to pass nearly as much as his talent warrants. And, as has been correctly pointed out, he MUST find a way to diversify his scoring game. He can't shoot sub-30% from 3-15 feet and reach his potential.
And so we have a strange phenomenon with Burks. His potential is crazy-good. His potential also includes some not-so-awesome possibilities. He needs to be a part of the team, he needs to work on his game. If I was in charge, I'd give him every minute of backup PG play available ... in practice and in games. Because (a) he's the best option anyway and (b) whether PG is his future or not, learning to look for the pass more will likely be the biggest factor making him great or not.
And we want him to be great.
But I'm not in charge. All I can do is hope. Hope that this year he doesn't get held back for lousy players. Hope that he gets both game experience AND maximizes it by polishing the parts of his game that still need a lot of work. Hope that he takes his talent and proves he can be one of the very, very best.
Alec Burks ... the future is yours.