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The Downbeat #1225: Burks Goes Swaggy-Nova

Burks goes swaggy-nova.

Swag On.
Swag On.
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

If anyone thought Alec Burks would do better as a point guard than he would as a shooting guard they got a cold hard dose of swaggilicious reality last night. Here was Alec Burks' fantastic stat line against the 6th best defense in the NBA.

Stat Highlights

  • 31 points on 12 for 17 shooting
  • 8 trips to the line against the 6th best defense in the NBA.
  • 7 assists at the shooting guard position leaving Burks with a 45% assist ratio.
  • 2 for 4 from three.
  • 3 rebounds (1 offensive)
  • 4 steals.
  • Ended the game with the lowest defensive rating of any Jazz player in the game with a 119 and the best offensive rating of any Jazz player with 146.
  • Most points by a Heat opposing player ALL season.
I don't know how many times I have to scream this from the mountain blogs, Alec Burks is a shooting guard and a good one. He needs a really good facilitator to play beside him so he can be effective. Does anybody realize that Alec Burks had a Dwyane Wade game versus Dwyane Wade?

Types of Alec Burks' Plays
  1. Athletic around the basket layups (reversals, in traffic, had to readjust shot a lot of times). This is fantastic. This is elite level around the basket game. Not many players can play this brand of basketball.
  2. Split at least 2 double teams to get to the basket AND draw a foul on the big man in the paint.
  3. #CornerPimp Hit a corner three on a kick out with a defender closing in on him.
  4. Passing it deep into the paint to the big man. On one play Burks was doubled high on the perimeter and he still was able to find Jeremy Evans with good position near the basket. FANTASTIC pass.
  5. Burks took Chris Bosh off the dribble and drove to his left and finished with his left hand OVER Bosh.
  6. Worked the pick and roll to perfection with Favors.
Let me give this passionate plea before we move on to the next down-point. Let Alec Burks start. I know the whole argument of the Jazz need a scoring punch of the bench and he gets the same minutes as if he comes off the bench than if he starts. But that last argument is false. He does not get the "same minutes". Playing with Diante Garrett, Brandon Rush, Jeremy Evans, and Andris Biedrins vs playing with the starters is not the "same minutes". The Jazz might as well be sending Alec Burks to Bakersfield if the Jazz insist on playing Burks with such bench fodder. Richard Jefferson played a total of 11 minutes 30 seconds in tonight's game. Is there any coincidence that Burks has his best game when he finally got the opportunity to play with starters?

Burks kept Utah in the game through the first part of the 4th until Miami turned on the afterburners and went to plaid. Alec earned his starting spot. He did something that the Jazz were hoping Gordon Hayward to do at some point this season, take over a game. Burks did that. Through three quarters of Miami, Spoelstra must have been screaming to keep an eye on Burks. He was double teaming him, throwing late help defense at him to throw off his shot near the rim, and the entire Miami Heat defense was keyed in on him at any point during a possession. BUT BURKS STILL GOT WHAT HE WANTED. That's why this game was special. Burks showed an ability that no other Jazz player on contract has right now: to take over a game. Swag on, Burks. Swag on.

As Burks would probably say, swag on and be swaggy to each other.

Let's talk about the other Burke's game. He had a rough one. This is expected for a rookie. If you watched the game you could tell the Miami Heat defense wanted to shut him down as the initiator for the offense. That was part of the reason Alec Burks was able to have the type of game he had. Utah obliged with Miami trying to move the facilitator role to Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward. It was successful to them to a large degree.

But here's where it really failed for Utah. Trey Burke's shooting. With Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward initiating the offense Trey Burke had to work a lot of off-ball movement to get his shots or to help the offense flow. Shooting 1 for 8 from the field does not help the Utah Jazz space the floor nor take pressure off the ball handlers. I'm not worried about bad shooting nights like this during December. I will be worried about these type of nights in March/April. Would I have liked to see Trey take advantage of Mario Chalmers in his matchup? Of course. But he didn't because rookie.

This is my plug for HULU's show Behind the Mask. It's a wonderful show about the people behind the mascot. If you're a sports fan you'll definitely enjoy this. In addition it just got picked up for another season!

Hulu Picks Up ‘Behind the Mask’ Docu-Series for Second Season | Variety
Hulu ordered a second season of Occupant Entertainment’s documentary series, "Behind the Mask," exploring the world of high school, college and pro sports mascots — and the people who inhabit them.

The 10-episode second season of "Behind the Mask" will again be helmed by filmmaker Josh Greenbaum, whose documentary film about kid golfers, "The Short Game," will debut on Netflix next month. "Behind the Mask" is exec produced by Occupant Entertainment partners Felipe Marino and Joe Neurauter as well as Occupant exec Kate Sharp. "Behind the Mask" season two, slated to premiere on Hulu and Hulu Plus in the second half of 2014, will profile three new characters at the high school, college and professional levels. "

Josh’s perceptive and empathetic storytelling is insightful and entertaining," said Charlotte Koh, Hulu Originals head of development. "He turns the mascots into everyday superheroes who we can all relate to and root for."

Hulu over the next month will release the final four episodes of "Behind the Mask" season 1, with the finale to go online Dec. 17.

Yesterday, a lot of people were up in arms because of three sentences by Prodigal Punk. It reads:

As always, when the Jazz are in town GO TO THE GAMES. Its not about disagreements in doctrine and personnel, its about supporting the team as a whole. GO JAZZ!

Okay, I'll bite. I'll explain why this is important and why the simple "speak with your wallet" scenario doesn't always pan out as easily as you think.

FIRST. The argument that these kids are overpaid millionaires who don't need your support because they're making SOOOOOO much money.

It's shown that at a certain point money doesn't matter. What matters is the level of confidence you are given through your peers, bosses, and supporters no matter the profession. But let's assume for a moment that this argument is the god given truth as manna from heaven given to us from Mark Eaton. Want to know who are not millionaires and need your support? Shirley who works in the hot dog kiosk in section YY who gets sent home 20 minutes into her shift every night because the arena looks like an old western town before a shootout in a spaghetti western. The kid who's a sales associate at the apparel shop downstairs and never makes the schedule because it's going to be "slow as hell" at the game tonight.


I agree with this sentiment. No one, not anyone, should tell anyone how to be a fan. But we can tell others how not to lose a team. It still blows my mind that Seattle doesn't have an NBA team anymore. Am I insinuating that because of your low attendance at Utah Jazz games that the Jazz leave? No. But crazy things happen in sports. Remember how sudden Larry Miller's death was? What if his family chose to sell the team instead of continue the legacy? It would have been that quick that the Utah Jazz were the Kansas City Spirit. Go to the games not because your attendance will force them to leave. Go to the games because having a professional sports team in your home state is special. I say that as a boy who grew up in Idaho. It's special. Enjoy it. Don't end up like Sonics fan who wishes he would have went to more games because you don't know how long you'll get to have the privilege. It's a privilege to have one of 30 NBA teams in your state. Not a right.


This, my friends, brings us to economics. If you watch the Jazz on television, cable, satellite, or NBAGametime, your money is going to a national source. At least let it go to a local source directly. If you want to protest, you're not protesting that hard. The Jazz will still see the viewership of said game and if you're watching at home they don't know the context by which you're watching it. But you're watching it. That's all they care about. If you go to a game with a bag over your head in your Jazz jersey or with a giant "FIRE TY" sign, that's more impressive. Also, look at coaches who were fired because of low attendance. Still looking? That's because coaches are fired by bad coaching decisions and on the court production. Want to know what helps? HEARING DAMN BOOS AT THE GAME. So if that's your M.O., to get Ty fired, then actually show your passion and boo the s*** out of him. But being passive aggressive and pouting at home while your cable bill pays all 30 teams instead of your SMALL MARKET LOCAL TEAM is beyond missing the mark.


Never fear the loss, Dunkers. For salvation is Jabari-nigh. Chad Ford writes:

Jabari Parker
22.1 PPG 7.8 RPG 1.8 APG

The longer the season goes on, the more scouts are switching their allegiances to Parker as their favorite to go No. 1. He's a scoring machine. He has a high basketball IQ. He can play multiple positions on the floor, and his lack of elite defensive abilities combined with the occasional struggle against long, athletic defenders are the only real knocks on him at the moment.

Tank Update

Chad Ford updates his TANK RANK for this week:

3. Utah Jazz | Status: Tanking | Record: 6-20 (past week: 2-2)

We had a pretty good idea that a healthy Trey Burke was going to make the Jazz more competitive. They have won five of their past 11 games now that they have their point guard. His past five games, Burke is averaging an impressive 7.2 assists per game and committing just 1.8 turnovers a game. His shooting woes are an issue, but overall the Jazz are pleased with what he's bringing to the team.

The best news is that, although Burke's play has improved the Jazz, it seems unlikely that any team will be worse than them in the West, almost guaranteeing Utah a top-five spot here all season.