For the past couple of weeks the main Utah Jazz stories have been about Gordon Hayward or Dante Exum. On Saturday, the Jazz matched the Charlotte Hornets offer of four years and $63 million.
Then later on that evening Dante Exum and the other Jazz players started their summer league schedule against the Philadelphia 76ers. Exum had some great flashes of athleticism and scoring ability.
Hayward and Exum are part of the future for the Jazz. Another part of that future is Alec Burks, the third-year guard from University of Colorado.
After two subpar years, Burks finally got the minutes he need to show off his talents. He was nearly able to double all of his stats, while showing at the age of 22 he still had room to grow. We take a look at Burks’ 2013-14 season.
Start of the Season
After being buried on the Jazz bench for the first two season, Burks came into 2013 with a chance at some big minutes off the bench. With veterans like Mo Williams, Earl Watson, and Randy Foye all out of the picture, Burks was ready to step in and play. The first game of the season was against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Utah and Burks came out with a bang.
He led the Jazz with 24 points and six assists. Burks was aggressive with the ball as he was able to get to the free throw line nine times, making eight of them in the process. After only averaging 17.8 minutes per game last season, he ended up playing 32 minutes, helping the Jazz in a narrow loss to the Thunder.
The first game of the season was a great omen on how Burks would play this season. After the first game of the season it took Burks a few games to find his legs and get used to playing more minutes consistently.
For the month of November he averaged 26 minutes per game, he used those minutes to average 10 points a game for the month. However, he only shot the ball at 37 percent from the field and 27 percent from 3.
In the following month he found his footing and began to be the players the Jazz thought he would be when they drafted him 12th overall. While playing just less than 28 minutes, he averaged 14.2 points per game. Even better, he did this while shooting 49 percent from the floor, 45 percent from 3, and 79 percent from the free throw line.
On Dec. 16 in Miami, Burks scored a career-high 31 points to lead all scorers. In addition, he led the Jazz with seven assists and four steals. Burks shot the ball great in this game going 12-for-17 from the field and 2-for-4 from 3.
Best Game of the Season
Burks only started 12 times during the season, and on Jan. 13 in Utah against the Denver Nuggets, he made the most of this particular start. Gordon Hayward was out with injury and Burks was starting in his place. After scoring a career high in the previous month, he did it again by scoring 34 points while playing 38 minutes to help the Jazz win at home against the Nuggets.
Burks set the tempo for the game as he came out with 17 first-half points. He consistently drove to the basket, being very aggressive the whole game this helped the Jazz score a season-high 64 points in the paint.
Burks was 13-for-19 from the field and an even better 8-for-8 from the free throw line. He also chipped in five assists, three rebounds, and one steal.
In a way this game was Burks’ showcase, he was able to show everyone how he can get the basket against multiple defenders. Furthermore, he demonstrated how he can play both the point and shooting guard positions.
Finishing the Season Strong and Grade
Burks finished the season very strong, as he averaged 15.2 points over the past four months. He had his best month in April, when he averaged 15.6 points per game. The biggest reason this was his best month he was able to shoot 53 percent from the field. He also finished the month with 32.7 minutes a game, which shows he was able to finish the season super strong.
This season was a huge success for Burks, he showed the Jazz that he can be a real contributor for the future. Burks can really help both the young guards in Trey Burke and Exum, since he can play both guard positions.
More than likely Burks will be coming off the bench and be the Jazz sixth man for the season.
Burks deserves nothing less than an A for the season, as the Jazz were not sure what to expect from Burks last season. It will be interesting to see what kind of money Burks will get after this season, the Jazz might learn from Hayward’s contract situation and extend Burks sooner rather than later.