In 2011 I watched Alec from the upperbowl with fellow season ticket holder and we would always comment how skilled he was. Soon after that the #freeAlecBurks came out and even had points where it was trending on Twitter. Over the years however he has been very inconsistent and sometimes looks lost. That has all changed recently with how the coaching staff has approached Alec and his game. Alec’s strengths are driving and taking contact while finishing in the line. He is very much like a James Harden or Dwayne Wade type player that excels with the ball in his hands.
The coaching staff have told Alec to play his game and do what he does best. They’ve switched the way they screen for him and it has really allowed him to show how good he can be. He has scored over 20 points in 4 of his last 7 games, attempted 25 free throws in the past two (80%) while shooting 50% from the field. Alec’s ability to take contact and finish is second to none and gives him the real possibility to be special in this league.
The way Alec has been playing lately makes me believe that the Jazz have to keep Burks over anyone. Hayward and Burks work well together but paying 8 figures for both will be very difficult specially if Hayward receives anywhere near a max from Phoenix or the Celtics this off-season.
I’ve always been on the train of Hayward being an exceptional player and that there is no way the Jazz could let him go. I still believe this but having Burks play the way he has been would cushion the blow if Hayward were to leave. The Jazz even seem to be transitioning toward having Burks play a lot like Houston uses James Harden. With this happening it will let Hayward do what he does best which is being the second option and let’s him facilitate and set up guys for better shots. Like Hayward Alec is a very good passer and also a good rebounder for a 2 guard although he does need to up his stats to make him more of a presence in the NBA.
One thing is for sure that if Alec keeps playing this way that the Jazz are looking more dangerous every day. One other thing to think about is with Burks playing the way he is does this make the Jazz look for a big like Embiid or the guy from Indiana with their draft pick instead of Parker or Wiggins? My hope is the Jazz pick the best available instead of caring about position, but drafting a wing almost guarantees the departure of Hayward or Burks in the long run.