RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Alec Burks

Posted by rtmsf on June 20th, 2011

Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 23, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night. There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.

Player Name: Alec Burks

School: Colorado

Height/Weight: 6’6/195 lbs.

NBA Position: Shooting Guard

Projected Draft Range: Mid-First Round

Overview:  Alec Burks is as prolific a scorer on the wing as you’ll find in the 2011 draft class.  In just two seasons at Colorado, he scored nearly 1,300 points, averaging 19.0 PPG and leading the Big 12 in scoring last year.  He hit for 20+ points in 24 games last season, coming up big when it mattered most, contributing 29, 24, and 23 in the Big 12 Tournament, and 27, 25, 25, and 20 in four games in the NIT.  He has a prototypical NBA shooting guard’s body, standing at a lean 6’6 with long arms and an adequate , if not explosive, jumping ability.  He can score in a variety of ways, but his most proficient skill is his pronounced ability to slash to the basket and convert difficult shots in traffic.  Scorers like him have a knack for finding seams where lesser talented players do not, and Burks is exceptional in this regard.  His jumper is still a work in progress (29% from three last season), although scouts have noted that his misses both from length and the mid-range are perhaps more because of inconsistency in his fundamentals (fading, leaning, failure to sufficiently square his body) rather than an inability to make those shots.  In other words, they believe that this problem is fixable through proper coaching and repetition.  If this is indeed the case, we expect Burks to make a significant impact on the NBA within three to five years as he works into his frame and builds a complete offensive arsenal to complement his already-prodigious slashing talents.

Alec Burks Has Tremendous NBA Upside

Will Translate to the NBA:  His ability to score is what will translate to the NBA immediately.  Scorers are born, not made, and Burks has an uncanny knack for finding ways to put the ball in the basket even when there’s no good shot available.  This skill will endear him to coaches at the next level always looking for quick, easy buckets from players coming off the bench.  Even if no other part of Burks’ game ever develops, he should be able to survive a number of years on this ability alone.    

Needs Work: Clearly, he needs to improve his jump shot, and we’re not sure he knows how to play defense.  As for the jumper, there are indications that he has the mechanics to shoot better than 29% from outside the arc, but he will have to learn at the next level that his usage rate will not top 32% (as it did at CU) and therefore his shots will need to be more efficiently chosen.  Wild forays to the paint leading to off-balance Js that have a one in three chance of going in will not curry favor with his coaches; nor will pull-ups from behind the arc in one-on-two delayed break situations.  Burks will have to learn how to pick his spots offensively, while also showing that he can use his long, athletic body to defend people.  Otherwise, his best-case scenario is to become an Eddie House type of player, instant offense off the bench, but no realistic shot at becoming a major player in the League.

Comparison Players:  A great comparison player is Josh Childress, someone who possesses similar size, body type and skill set.  Before he ran off to play in Europe for two seasons, Childress was a solid off-the-bench player for Atlanta, averaging around ten points per game and hitting his shots at a high percentage as an instant-offense slasher.  Another player he reminds us of is former Dallas star Josh Howard, another uber-slasher who parlayed his scoring abilities into an all-around game that made him a very desirable commodity around the NBA for a number of years in the 2000s.

Best Case Scenario:  The best case for Burks is that he builds off of his superb scoring ability and becomes a complete shooting guard in the NBA — a player who can not only score in bunches, but can do so in a variety of ways while not giving up more points on the other end of the floor.  The ability to become an elite scoring guard in the NBA is there; it’s simply a matter of harnessing it and playing to his strengths while developing his weaknesses.

2014 Projection:  In three years, Burks will only be 22 years old and should have at this point either started to come into his own as a rising star or will have pigeonholed himself as a one-dimensional scorer with little interest in anything other than slashing and taking contested jump shots.  We like to give young players the benefit of the doubt, so we’re going to anticipate that by 2014 Burks has started to figure out what will get him minutes in the NBA and has bought in to the sales pitch.  He’s probably starting as a two-guard on a mid-level team and putting up double-figures while showing signs of becoming a complete player in the League.

Best NBA Fit:  A few teams in the middle of the First Round might be inclined to take a risk on a young scorer with significant upside.  The Milwaukee Bucks at #10, the Utah Jazz at #12, the Houston Rockets at #14, and the New York Knicks at #17 all fit the bill.  Each of these teams needs scoring from the wing, and Burks could provide that as soon as next season coming off the bench.  In three years, he could be an up-and-coming elite player at the position.

Scout’s Take (Chris Denker from Netscouts Basketball): “really like him… great size and can play point guard in a pinch… handles and passes well for a big body… scorer, not a great shooter, but a quick study.”

rtmsf (3954 Posts)

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