Alec Burks will have a difficult time securing minutes in the Utah Jazz’s regular rotation this season, given the depth the team has at the wing positions.
But rather than run from a challenge, Burks is choosing to meet it head-on.
On Monday night against the Sydney Kings, Burks did not play until the fourth quarter, but took full advantage of his minutes. He finished with six points and three assists, showcasing the athleticism that made him a lottery pick and also flashing notable passing ability.
“I look at the preseason as an opportunity to show what I can do,” Burks said. “This is the healthiest I’ve been in three years, so it feels good to be able to get out on the court and play.”
Wednesday night’s game against Maccabi Haifa was Burks’ first chance to play first-half minutes with the regular rotation. Starting shooting guard Rodney Hood was given the game off to rest and his backup, rookie Donovan Mitchell, was held out with a sore hamstring.
Burks finished with 16 points, eight rebounds, two assists and a block. He was 3 of 3 on 3-pointers.
“Alec competes, and that’s what you like about him,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said.
Blast from the past
Former NBA forward Josh Smith led Maccabi Haifa with 18 points on 7-of-21 shooting Wednesday night. He played center in an effort to draw Jazz star Rudy Gobert away from the basket, and had some success getting to the basket. Smith is attempting an NBA comeback. He most recently played for the Houston Rockets in 2016.
Not good enough?
An NBA survey of general managers was released Wednesday and asked who the top centers in the league were, Gobert didn’t make the top four. Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns was named the top center with 28 percent of the votes. Anthony Davis from New Orleans finished second, Marc Gasol of Memphis finished third and DeMarcus Cousins, also from New Orleans, finished fourth.
When asked about it on Twitter, Gobert said, “They (the GMs) didn’t consider me a top 26 pick either,” referring to when he was the 27th pick of the 2013 NBA draft.
Members of the Utah Sports Hall of Fame were recognized Wednesday night. Among them were former Utah football coach Ron McBride, former Tribune columnist Dick Rosetta and former Utes basketball great Arnie Ferrin.