Alec Burks: Mr Versatility
This is a "report card" draft for General Managers as there is no clear cut number one pick, and the experts are lamenting about what a weak draft it's going to be. What this draft lacks is a few superstar-can't-miss talents at the top, and when Harrison Barnes, Perry Jones and Jared Sullinger pulled out, (three sure fire top 5-7 picks), everyone started clamoring about what a weak draft it was.
These are the drafts that try General Manager's souls, and sometimes it makes or breaks their career. I see a lot of talent in this draft, but it's of a future greatness that needs to be developed, so NBA executives have their work cut out for them.
The shooting guard position, once a pillar a strength for the NBA, has fallen on hard times. Once you get past Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, and Dwyane Wade, most teams could use a two guard like the ones that were plentiful 15 years ago. It's a tough position to play, as you must have extreme athleticism and be skilled in every area of the game. The height requirement for a shooting guard, comes in right about 6’5, any shorter and the margin for error dramatically increases. You must be able to create your own shot, find the open man when doubled, feed the post and assume secondary ball handling duties. After watching a ton of Colorado games this year, my take is that Alec Burks can do all of these things, and should only improve with more time to practice and hone his skills.
One of the keys to drafting successfully, is to select players that have a clear cut position to play in the association. Based on statistics, 6'6 power forwards and 6'2 shooting guards, shouldn't be drafted early. Players that fit the height and athleticism categories are more likely to make it. Teams should also stay away from players that either need to gain or lose a lot of weight, as it just complicates the maturation process. In the end, you need to also find guys that are great basketball players, not just combine stars. The ability to pass, shoot, dribble, rebound and defend are more apt to make a player, than the guy who hits his head on the rim while dunking. Alec Burks has all of that, he's a legit 6'6 and 193 pounds, is athletic enough to sky for alley-oop dunks and plays the game like a seasoned pro.
Burks can get a good look anytime he wants to. He makes this happen with a handle that makes it look like the ball is a yo-yo. Defenses need to be careful when they double team, because Burks makes you pay every time. He always has his head up, and his ability to find the open man when defenses converge is point-guard-like. Many a help-defender have gotten burned this past season, and this translates to a guy who has a array of skills and shots while driving to the bucket. You really can't guard him one on one, but if you bring help, it's an assist, and if you foul him he's hitting 82% from the stripe.
With his tremendous handle he can go right or left, can slam it, take the floater or take the pull up J. He operates comfortably and effortlessly in traffic and has an uncanny knack for making the right decision. Burks also has a very disciplined game, he plays like a veteran. You see the polished repertoire, smooth ball handling skills, deft passing and solid all around game. What you're really getting from Burks is a highly creative two guard, a guy who can always get his shot, but has no problem giving the ball up to a cutter or an open shooter. Had he played for a more talented team, his distribution skills may have been more apparent, but he still averaged close to 3 dimes a game, which dramatically increases his value.
When looking at Burks' numbers this past season, he fills out the stat sheet quite nicely. He averaged 20.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.1 steals per game. His shooting percentage was 48% and he shot free throws at a 82% clip. He had (24) twenty point games (4) ten rebound games, and (6) five assist games, while also showing the ability to get to the foul line, as he averaged eight foul shots a game.
The keys to his future success lie in him getting in the gym and adding muscle. Usually, I think players need to change certain areas, but with Burks I would say better fakes and more of them and he needs to spend some time fine tuning his pull up jumper and his three. Shooting wise, his form is a little mechanical and unorthodox as he sort of pushes the ball and doesn;t shoot the ball in one crisp motion. The results are good, but when he gets further from the basket, his shot loses consistency. But Jason Kidd has become the 3rd all time 3 point shooter and came into the league with a busted jumpshot, so a jumper is the easiest thing to correct. And Burks shows touch, he just lacks a great shooting form.
When you think of the great shooting guards of recent years, most came into the league with the same questions about their perimeter games. Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, Dwyane Wade and many others developed their shooting prowess in the NBA. I think Burks will do the same, and if you look at the supposed great shooters that were drafted high, none of them fulfilled their potential, outside of Ray Allan.
Defensively, it's the same thing. Burks is not a reincarnated Dennis Rodman or Gary Payton on defense, but he doesn't shy away from it and plays the game hard. As he matures and grows I think his outside shooting and defense will improve every year he's in the NBA, eventually vaulting him to an All Star level.
In conclusion, I think Alec Burks is one of the top players in the draft. His forays to the hoop in the half court are well calculated, disciplined, almost choreographed moves to beat his man and score. Needless to say, I think his one on one scoring ability, coupled with his ability to flat out pass the rock make him a can't miss NBA prospect. As he continues to polish his game, the sky's the limit for him. He's got everything you look for in a shooting guard, and he's still only 19 years old.
I thought I was imagining it when I said the NBA lacked depth at 2 guard in this day and age and thought there was a niche to fill in that regard.
Here's hoping Alec Burks, and my personal favorite, Marshon Brooks can aleviate the problem a bit.
Burks is one of my favorite draft prospects. The only thing he really needs to improve on is his shooting. If he goes to the right team, he can be an immediate impact on the team and should have a great NBA career.
"calculated, disciplined, almost choreographed"
I noticed the same thing while watching him in the BIg 12 tournament.
He is going to be really good.
He is the most underrated player in this draft.. He has superstar ceiling and the ability to average 25 or above if he gets a consistent jumper. at worst i see him being a decent starter.. he is the type of player that his athleticism alone will keep him in the nba. He is stronger then you think too. This may sound crazy but his skills at the rim reminds me of derrick rose. he just is always finding ways to get it in the basket no matter how much he has to twist and turn. When he gets on his jumper comes with it and he is unstoppable. His passing stats would be better but there wasn't anybody for him to pass to in the low block. I'm a huge Colorado fan so i have probably seen more footage of him than anybody. I think he would be a steal for Milwaukee or if minnesota somehow gets the 8th pick.
also to add he had good character and stayed with us through a coaching change which shows some loyalty
Does anyone think that he would be a good pick for Chicago if they traded to get him? Fine tune his defensive abilities under coach Thibs and also work on becoming a great shooter and overall player with their coaching staff. Plus there is a chance to be an immediate started.. Would this be a good system for him to grow up and mature in?
i agree i think he would work well with chicago. It would really help him defensively and him starting right away would help. I think he and rose would need to work on their jumpers together tho haha
Chi needs a 2 that can hit the 3. Burks would not fit in there sorry.
I love Burk's game. I hope Minnesota finds a way to get him. They are in need of sg and he would fit in great with Rubio.
@Ollstar: With Deng showing he can reliably knock down open shots from deep and Korver another shooting threat, having Burks as a player who can create his own shot would be more important than just another outside shooter for the Bulls.
Burks and Rose would be a tremendous backcourt. What derailed Chicago in the playoffs was their offense. Having another creator would really make them a better team. Kind of funny but everyone says "defense wins chanpionships", but all of those teams also had a great offense.
The Bulls have enough solid shooters on their team. Simply a "shooter" is not what the Bulls need in their starting SG spot. They need someone who is an all around player. One that can be counted on in the defensive end of the floor, hit the open shots, and most importantly, just create offense (whether for himself or others).
All year I have thought the Bulls rely too much on Rose from an offensive standpoint and thats exactly what killed them in the playoffs. Someone like Burks, who can get his own shot off and create for others including Rose, would be perfect for the Bulls.
With that said, I think it would be too hard for the Bulls to move all the way up to get Burks, the clear cut #1 SG in the draft. However, I think Marshon Brooks would fit in well with the Bulls too and he would probably be more "gettable" since he is projected late lottery to around 20th.
What I mean by "Chi needs a 2 that can hit the 3" is not jus saying they need a shooter but they need their starting 2 to hit the 3. He also needs to defend the 2 and create his own offense. But the way the Bulls offense is designed it requires all perimeter players to knock down that shot. We've seen Brewer take that shot plenty because its there. Burks would be a great weapon in the arsenal tho.
Bulls don't have enough to move up to get Burks unless they want to trade Asik or Gilbson, just don't see it happening.
I think this article really sums it up on Burks. Very good athlete with NBA size who gets to the line frequently and needs his game fine tuned. In my opinion, he's one of the only players in this draft worth moving up for. Iw ill say there were times Iw atched him where I came away unimpressed, but when he did impress, he looked like a man amongst boys. His rapid ascent from non entity recruit to star is a testament to either learning how to use his athleticism or an incredible work ethic. Either is a good thing.
The only skill as scarce as the ability to create one's own shot is the ability to draw fouls. Burks has both. I think in the right organization, he ends up one of the top 3 players in this draft.