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Happy Birthday to Utah Jazz guard Alec Burks

Happy Birthday to youuu!

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The birthday boy man today is our very own Alec Burks. Alec has turned 25, and we all want to wish him so many things -- mostly better luck and health -- but today it's Happy Birthday!

Burks was one of the Utah Jazz 's legion of late lotto picks over the last little while, and was selected #12 in the 2011 NBA Draft. He did not get a summer league or much of training camp because he was selected right before the NBA Locked out their players. In his rookie season, an abbreviated one that didn't start until months and months after it should have, he found himself on a team that would have Devin Harris, C.J. Miles, Earl Watson, Josh Howard, Raja Bell, Jamaal Tinsley, and DeMarre Carroll at guard and wing. The team was already committed to Gordon Hayward as well, and G-Time got over 2,000 regular season minutes in 66 games. Alec got less than half of that, sometimes collecting DNP-CDs because head coach Tyrone Corbin somehow was routinely influenced by the agents of some of his players in contract years. (Seriously, how was this even allowed? What kind of a ship was Kevin O'Connor running at the end of his days?)

Early in his career the lotto pick appeared to be the whipping boy, playing in just 59 and 64 games in his first two seasons. Usually players with his talent and draft status go to teams that find ways to use them earlier, but it wasn't the case for Alec. But things started to get on track by his third. In his third season he finally got his first career NBA start -- at point guard at that. Still, he would come off the bench for 66 of the 78 games he would play in 2013-2014, and in 28.1 mpg he averaged 14.0 ppg (.457 / .350 / .748), 3.3 rpg, 2.7 apg, and 0.9 spg. Bumped up to starters minutes he would have averaged 18 / 4 / 4 / 1 that year, but hey, why try to play and develop ALL of your lottery picks?

The next two seasons were injury riddled. In 2014-15 he would play in only 27 games, and in 2015-16 slightly more, in 31 games. He became the starter and then lost his starting job to Rodney Hood during this time. Which is interesting, considering he worked on his shot and ended up making 38.2 3PT% and 40.5 3PT% in those two years. (The knock on the slashing Burks was that he wasn't a good enough shooter to start -- for what it is worth, Hood shot 36.5% and 35.9% in the same two years.)

When Alec is on the floor he is a weapon. He can get to the rim, finish with contact, avoid contact (not with the ground, gravity still applies), and get to the line. His ability to make his own shot -- and the clear evidence that he can knock down spot up jumpers -- makes him one of the Top 5 offensive players on this team. He was sorely missed over the last two seasons.

His versatility to be able to defend PG, SG, and some SFs is also something many of the non-athletes on the Jazz benches the last two seasons could not do. Hopefully this year he gets back to his head hunting ways.

With the addition of 35 year old Joe Johnson (SG / SF / PF) and the expanding abilities of 20 year old Trey Lyles (SF / PF / C) it's going to be interesting to see how and when Alec gets on the floor for the Utah Jazz this season. When he was green, he couldn't get off the bench. Now finally really do show his stuff, he was injured. Now going into his 6th season he has about 6k of the 10k minutes he should have under his belt.

This is getting a little too heavy for just a birthday post, so once again, Happy Birthday Alec! I hope we get to see a lot of you this year!


I forgot about this Photoshop I made years ago . . . I haven't had a lot of opportunities to post it lately, so no time like the present.


Yes, I am suggesting that Burks is close air support (CAS) for the guys in the trenches.