Bafflement Report: Alec Burks

There's this concept in AP writing, which is different than most types of writing, where the author is supposed to sum up their entire written concept in a sentence. Honestly, I'm dancing around that to avoid what I think is blatantly obvious and will be upsetting to a lot, if not all, Jazz fans.

Alec Burks is bad at basketball.

Before I get lambasted by comments and conceptual arguments, let me say this: I like Alec Burks, have been on the bandwagon since his rookie campaign, and desperately want to see him succeed as a professional basketball player on the team that I love more than most things.

But...let me ask you this: What does Alec Burks do well?

He can't shoot. His ball-handling is iffy at best. He makes poor decisions. His defense is meh. And his free throw shooting--which should complement his game most--is horrific.

You can pull all the statistics out that prove me wrong. I won't sit here and say that my version of basketball analysis is better than yours or the best. However, I use the good, old fashioned eye test. My vision tells me that he's not good.

Like anyone else in this league, he shows moments of brilliance. And had you seen Andre Miller's 50-plus game, you would perhaps believe that he's a phenomenal scorer that you can give the ball to and receive a bucket in return. We all know that Miller is not that guy. Well, after a ton of games, Mr. Burks isn't anything worth watching.

Here's what baffles me about Alec and I won't use a single statistic, so, let that be what it is:


He cannot shoot. This is a pretty objective fact. I haven't once looked at his shooting percentage because I don't have to. I see his form. When I play basketball, I know immediately--talking like 2 shots--who can shoot and who cannot shoot. I know the guys I have to crowd and the guys who I can play the passing lanes and dribble on. It's not about results; it's about form.

Of course there are a couple guys who can shoot despite weird forms. For every rule there is an exception (I before E, except after C, when sound like A, as in neighbor or weigh...then explain the word "weird"). Reggie Miller's form was awkward and strange. Even Shawn Marion can shoot the ball. Every purist that ever saw these guys shoot said, "What?"

But Burks' form is atrocious. He has no arc, which leaves the ball little room to go in because it comes off the first bounce too hard. He either does one of two things when it goes in: he swishes the ball, in which case his trajectory was flawless, something the greatest shooters cannot rely on; or, it bangs hard off the lower-bottom part of the back rim and goes in. Have you ever seen a shot by Burks that hit the rim multiple times before going in?

Keep in mind that I'm speaking in generalities and I before E except after C. Burks cannot shoot.

Dribble Penetration

Burks does something that drives me absolutely nuts.

When he turns the corner on a defender and has a full step on him, he forgets to continue turning. He kind of turns into running rainbow, keeping the roundness about his move. At some point, you have to make the hard cut towards the rim. It's as if his mind is subconsciously aware of the three-point art and doesn't want to break pattern so he runs right into the baseline.

You have to make that full 90-degree cut as an NBA player. It's not like the hoop will re-position itself laterally on the baseline and come to whatever part of it you end up at. That hard cut is necessary. And if it isn't made, it leaves the bigs in bad spots where their defender can haphazardly leave them to cut him off while simultaneously leaving his man which cuts off the passing lane.

It's irresponsible as a poor shooting, driving guard.

Free Throws

Do I have to write anything here? I haven't seen his percentage. But it's gotta be less than Favors'. It's bad.

Decision Making

It's almost as if he's more comfortable watching the game from the pit of Corbin's pine. If you made as many stupid, and by stupid I mean flat-out basketball inept, decisions as he did a game, you'd have your IQ tested so you could get additional minutes on exams in high school.

He dribbles into traffic. He passes the balls to bigs with line-drives instead of bounce passes. He throws cross-court baseline passes, which is the most obvious passing lane in all of basketball and almost always turns into thievery. And he jumps without anyone to really pass to and without really having a look at the basket.

Cannot Finish at the Rim

Just read the bold.

Actually, I'll write something here because I think it's worth noting. Most of the shots that drop for him at the rim are jackknife, double clutch, off-balance hoopla that have no business on a basketball court. If that's the best shot the offense can get, the owner should call the league and ask to join the D-League.

If he's not contested, or if the situation calls for a floater, he's in bad shape.

Part II: The Good and Ugly

The Ugly.

This may have something to do with Oreos. If that sounds ridiculous to you, you may have to use your Google machine and insert "David Locke." Personally, I find this to be one of the most oversimplified concepts I've ever heard from anyone whose basketball mind I respect.

(I respect David Locke. Most people forget who he works for, how objective he cannot be due to who he works for. The guy busts his ass doing what he does and does things that don't involve him getting paid because he loves basketball and the Jazz. Is he perfect? LOLOMGWTFLMFAODIDYOUTASTETHATBURRITO. The man cannot be objective for the most part because of who his master is.)

Alec Burks has been under-dipped. He's that Oreo that isn't quite right because it's not soggy enough. It's crunch and at times leaves milk to be desired. Corbin has wasted talent on the bench--Burks is talented in my honest opinion--while giving excessive minutes to Earl Watson, Raja Bell, Jamaal Tinsley, Josh Howard, etc.

Had this kid been given the minutes, given the other options, that he deserved, perhaps he'd be above the learning curve, or the rainbow in his case. Right now, he's a dry Oreo, behind where he should be.

The Good.

One thing I think should be pointed out (especially because I always seem to write when drinking) is that I believe Burks can turn into a solid NBA player. But that's it. Solid. If you're still comparing him to Dwayne Wade, LOLOMGWTFLMFAODIDYOUTASTETHATBURRITO.

If you want him to be anything other than a strange combo guard who doesn't do anything exceptionally well, you haven't seen the sample size. You are somewhere in delirious land, a nice place to be especially around the fall season when the leaves start turning, and cannot see the bigger picture.

How many years does it take to learn how to shoot the ball? Dribble it effectively? Make decent decisions? Not turn it over in the identical situation you were in last game?

I am truly baffled by who I thought Alec Burks is. I was wrong. Perhaps it was all those years comparing him to Jamaal Tinsley, Earl Watson, CJ Miles, Raja Bell, and Josh Howard.

All comments are the opinion of the commenter and not necessarily that of SLC Dunk or SB Nation.