The OKC Thunder have signed Alec Burks to a new deal. Here’s how he will help the team and its dismal bench.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have made another move to help the bench in the second day of 2019 NBA free agency. The OKC Thunder have agreed to sign Alec Burks to a deal, according to ESPN‘s Royce Young. The terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed.
The Thunder have had problems with the bench ever since Kevin Durant left. There hasn’t been any juice coming from the second unit.
This past season, OKC ranked 29th in bench scoring. This was even with Dennis Schroder as the team’s sixth man, averaging 15.5 points per game. In total, the bench only averaged 30.0 points per game, which shows how little production the Thunder got from anybody else off the bench.
The season before that they averaged 26.4 bench points per game. That was good for 29th in the NBA.
With the deals for Mike Muscala and Alec Burks, they are showing that they are tired of being next to last in the bench scoring department.
Burks is a shooting guard that can score the ball. He has good handles, can take it to the hole, shoot the 3 off the dribble and slash for easy baskets. For his career, he has averaged 9.5 points per game, shot 35.5 percent from 3 and shot 77.1 percent from the free throw line.
Of his shots at the rim, 48.1 percent were assisted. Of his 3-point shots, 77.0 percent were assisted. He can really mix up. He can play off the ball or he can be effective with the ball in his hands.
The Thunder had Schroder who could do that this past season, but now they’ve added Burks, which will make them even more dangerous.
It has yet to be seen what OKC will do with Schroder, Steven Adams and Andre Roberson as the Thunder are in luxury tax trouble once again. They were in luxury tax trouble last year and they got rid of Carmelo Anthony. With these signings, they may have to get rid of one of those players.
The Thunder have not gotten to that point yet though, and they look to be improved on paper.
What may have sparked this signing would be the Thunder seeing Burks dominate them firsthand. He had a good series against OKC two years ago in the playoffs when the Thunder faced the Utah Jazz.
Burks scored 10 points in Game 1 of the playoff series against the Thunder, going 4-for-4 from the field and 2-for-2 from downtown. in Game 6, he scored 11 points and went 4-for-9 from the field.
The next series against the Houston Rockets, he had a 17-point game in Game 2, a 14-point game in Game 3 and a 22-point game in Game 5.
This past season, he averaged 11.6 points a night when he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers. That is the Alec Burks the Thunder are hoping to get. They don’t want the Burks that only put up 1.7 points per game in 13 contests after being traded to the Sacramento Kings.
He can put up points and has proven that in his career. From 2013-16, he averaged 14.0 points, 13.9 points and 13.3 points per game, respectively. The OKC Thunder are getting a player that they have needed for a while coming off the bench.