Oklahoma City • A week ago, Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin was apologizing for not being able to get rookie guard Alec Burks on the hardwood.
After watching Burks burn for nine points and 10 free-throw attempts in just 14 minutes during a road loss to New Orleans on Monday, Corbin acknowledged it's become harder than ever to keep the 20-year-old slasher locked up.
"I have to rethink it. I've always had the opinion that I need to get him more time on the floor," said Corbin, prior to tipoff Tuesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder. "He can score. He's getting better at learning how to defend and be on guys' [bodies]. â¦ He's a guy that deserves more minutes than I've given him in the past."
Corbin turned to Burks after watching a lifeless Jazz team fall behind by 20 late in the third quarter to the lowly Hornets. By the time Burks' run was over, he'd attempted more free throws than Utah's five starters combined and teamed with fellow youngsters Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter to nearly unearth a win.
Burks was the No. 10 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft and only played two years at Colorado. During predraft workouts, many said his inability to shoot with accuracy from the perimeter would prevent him from becoming a legitimate NBA player. Two months into his rookie season, Burks has evolved into one of Utah's most aggressive athletes. He's fearless with the ball in his hands, and only improved as the year's rolled along.
"That's going to be a good thing for us going forward and we're going to need it from him. That's why he deserve[s] more time on the floor," Corbin said.
Burks said he's simply playing the same way he has his entire life: attack first, think later.
"I have the utmost confidence in myself," he said. "The more I play, the more experience I get. But with my minutes, the way I'm getting played, I don't get too many that much. So I'm just going to make the most of it."
Corbin considered putting his starters back in Monday against the Hornets with about three minutes to go. He held off, though, deciding to stick with Utah's young guns. â¦ DeMarre Carroll was inactive for the fourth consecutive game and has yet to play for Utah since being signed last Wednesday. â¦ Guard Raja Bell said he's no longer thinking about how many touches he gets or whether his shot is falling. He entered Tuesday shooting 57.9 percent behind the 3-point line during his last five games. â¦ Paul Millsap acknowledged he's recently been drifting in and out of Utah's offense. He entered Tuesday having taken 11 shots or less in four of five games. "It hasn't been too good, but I don't make excuses," he said.