Jazz Guard Alec Burks, and the Anatomy of having a -14 +/- in 3:26 of action

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Last night the Utah Jazz fought off a valiant comeback from the Washington Wizards to hold on for a 92-88 win at home. Seldom used sophomore lottery pick Alec Burks played 3:26 total minutes in this game while a younger, more athletic John Wall abused ancient Earl Watson during one of the most important stretches of the game. During this period of Wallapalooza Burks accrued an absurdly low +/- value of -14. He only played three and a half minutes. How did this happen?

Let's take a look:

Time
Q M Sec Play + / - Burks
3 1 3 Burks goes to scorers table
3 0 14.7 Burks comes in!
3 0 8.1 John Wall isolated against Earl Watson, scored with 1.1 seconds left -2 Did not do anything wrong, actually ended up boxing out a Wizard player on switch
3 0 1.1 Earl gets ball inbounded to him, runs clock out 0 Did nothing wrong
4 11 52 John Wall drives on Earl Watson, scores layup -2 Burks glued to his man, away from play
4 11 30 Jazz run bad play, Favors goes at two Wizards, misses layup 0 Did nothing wrong
4 11 23 Wizards run in transition, Wizards score on a J. Crawford 3 -3 Burks drops in to defend paint (Wall had scored a billion layups in last 12 mins)
His man is open trailing play and spots up for a three.
4 11 3 Jazz run play, Hayward's jumper rims out 0 Burks ran play correctly
4 10 55 Washington in transition, Crawford drives, forced to pass out of shot 0 Good defense by Burks (who made Crawford abort shot, and try to pass)
Results in Gordon Hayward steal from bad pass
4 10 52 Hayward gets fouled in transition
4 10 48 Burks gets ball, does post entry pass to Derrick Favors, who scores 2 One less dribble for Derrick and this is a Burks assist
4 10 27 John Wall pick and pop assist to Seraphim, bad defense Earl -2 Did nothing wrong
4 10 12 Burks runs off screen well, gets pass, Favors posting up, 0 Didn't try to make pass he could not actually make
Burks calculates if pass is possible, holds off, throws it to Kanter
who is taller and has better chance to complete pass to Derrick
Kanter passes, Derrick is doubled before pass gets there, foul
4 10 9 Burks inbounds to Watson, Watson makes lazy pass attempt -2 Did nothing wrong
Pass is stolen by Trevor Ariza, who goes length of floor and scores
easy layup.
4 9 55 Burks post up entry pass to Favors, who travels on his scoring attempt 0 Did nothing wrong
4 9 39 John Wall blows by Earl Watson again, misses layup -2 Burks on his man
Gets his own rebound, and is fouled by Earl on second shot attempt
Makes both FTs
4 9 14 Earl Watson dribbles for an eternity, then does dribble hand off 0 Burks shoots three, misses
to Alec Burks with 5 seconds on the clock
4 8 57 John Wall penetrates, draws in defense, kicks out to Trevor Ariza -3 You can get on Burks for the slow close out, but even I didn't think Ariza would shoot it
Ariza takes and makes a really long three as Burks closes out slowly
4 8 49 Tyrone Corbin takes a time out 0 Burks exits
-14

So what we saw was Burks running the plays, not breaking them off. Not taking shots, but trying to set guys up. And playing good help defense. He was scored on twice because his man trailed plays and spotted up for threes, and he prevented a score once by playing good defense and caused a turn over.

How did he earn the -14 then? Well, I guess it's because -6 of that was on him for not being better at closing out (he was better last year, if I remember correctly), and he did miss the only shot he took. Can Burks play better? Yes. Was this Burks taking himself out of the game by doing things incorrectly? No. The majority of Washington's attack was predicated on dribble penetration and then kicking it out -- which wasn't Burks' role on defense. All in all, a bad lineup -- I would have rather seen Randy Foye out there instead of Earl. Or Al Jefferson. Or Kevin Murphy.

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