JuMu's Jazzmen Previews: #3 Alec Burks

Hello SLCDunkers,

We are just about a month away from seeing Jazz basketball again as preseason starts in the beginning of October, I'm already getting excited in anticipation!

Anyways, today we have finally cracked into my top 3 for best Jazz players in the upcoming season. Here is who's made my top 10 list so far:

#10. Jeremy Evans (His post)

#9. Trevor Booker (His post)

#8. Rodney Hood (His post)

#7. Rudy Gobert (His post)

#6. Dante Exum (His post)

#5. Trey Burke (His post)

#4. Enes Kanter (His post)

The player in today's entry was THE hardest one to place in the rankings. I could see people justify today's player being anywhere from 1st to 5th on the Jazz for next season.

But all-in-all, I found the 3rd spot being the most appropriate spot to place the swaggiest player known best by his government name:

#3. Alec Burks, 4th season, 23 years old, 6'6", 195 pounds, SG


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Alec Burks.....the one who has been held back the most by others playing in front of him (I'm not even going to get into whether any of Foye, Howard, Miles, Jefferson were better players or not). He is entering his 4th season now and we still are unsure of what he is capable of averaging against starting units on a consistent basis.

Prior to the Jazz, Burks played for the University of Colorado (where current NBA players Chauncey Billups and Chris Copeland also are from). His strengths of slashing, driving into the lane, and drawing free throws were already in full display in his 2 years of collegiate basketball. Because of this he was Big 12 freshman of the year, as well as Big 12 First Team in his sophomore season. In his sophomore season, he averaged 20.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists off of 47 FG%, 29 3P%, and 83 FT%.

Burks has maintained his strengths of free throw drawing abilities despite not having the star reputation that many players at the top of the free throw drawing chain usually rely on. This leads me to believe that if Burks is unleashed as a first option on a team and gets some recognition, he could somehow get even more.

Last season Burks was 13th in the league in free throws attempted per possession (minimum 1000 minutes played). Ahead of him: Howard, Cousins, Durant, Harden, Griffin, Love, DeRozan, James, Westbrook, Davis, Anthony, Sessions. Very good company to be among.

Burks finally received somewhat respectable playing time this season, averaging 28 minutes per game (after not cracking 18 minutes per game in his 1st 2 seasons). He shot with an efficient 46 FG% and 35 3P%, with a 75 FT%.

He was 2nd on the team in scoring last year at 14 points per game, while being 1st in usage at 23.9% and 3rd in win shares.

Burks also had an above average PER of 15.8 last season, not at all bad for our sixth man.

I'm still undecided on whether or not Burks is best suited as a sixth man or the team's 1st/2nd offensive option in the starting unit. I can definitely see him having a good chance of excelling in either scenario, so I hope he starts this season, as I have hoped previous seasons.

What to Expect This Season:


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I put Burks at 3rd today, due to the chance that Burks may still come off the bench this season. Now I understand the argument for not having the 5 best players be the starters, but it would be a bit of a stretch to make a claim that a player who only has 12 career starts is going to be the team's best player or even 2nd best next season.

That said, I can see there being a chance (around 10%) that Burks plays like the team's best player next year.

I'm curious how Coach Snyder is going to handle playing time with Burks. I'd imagine that Burke-Burks-Hayward-Favors-Kanter will be the starting lineup in game 1 this season, but who knows if any of Exum, Hood, Booker, and Gobert have some unexpected surge in performances in practice and preseason to crack the starting lineup.

Many of us Jazz fans know Burks' weaknesses and strengths fairly thoroughly, I think Burks will need to put some more effort on defense as well as playing with an extra pass to fit in with the culture that Coach Q is seemingly wanting to establish this season.

I look forward to more acrobatic finishes and dastardly sneaky drives that will lead to Burks being one of the best players at drawing fouls in the league.

His shooting is also an underrated part of his game (37% from 3 point land if you take out his 9 missed full court buzzer-beater heaves last season).I would like to see him take more 3's as well since he makes them at a reasonable clip. He made them at essentially the same accuracy as Marvin Williams but attempted half as many as him while playing more than him.

Call me a homer, but Burks could very well be on the same track as self-proclaimed best player in the world James Harden was early on in his career offensively in many regards.

I see Burks killing it regardless of whether he starts or not with a modest bump in minutes from last season. Here is my official prediction for how Burks will do this season:

Burks 80 32.0 17.5 3.3 4.0 44 35 75 17.5 0.103

I foresee that Burks and Hayward will be very close together in terms of being the team's highest scorer for next season. However, Hayward being more well-rounded and already being committed to as the team's highest paid player and 1st option last year is what led to him being ranked higher than Burks. Time will tell who will come out on top by season-end.


Burks has showed much promise, and continued to perform at a high level last year in his first season of having respectable playing time at 28 minutes per game. Having freshly turned 23, will he make the jump this season to the Jazz's number 1 option? Don't bet on it, but don't rule it out either. He is definitely capable of it, but will he be given the opportunity to?

Burks has a nice blend of offensive skills but should continue to work on moving without the ball as well as his free throw accuracy since he's so good at drawing fouls, also defensive improvements are essential to his role moving forward.

Chances of him being with the team in the 2015-2016 season:


P.S. If anyone's keeping track at home/work/wherever, there are just 2 Jazz players left in this top 10 countdown. Incidentally they are the 2 highest paid players on the team next season. In which order will they come in on this countdown?!? Stay posted for my next entry.

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

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