Fantasy Basketball Sleeper: Alec Burks
Utah Jazz guard Alec Burks has not had an impressive start to his career since being drafted 12th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft, averaging just 7.1 points per game over his first two seasons (123 games). A big part of that can be chalked up to a lack of playing time, since he has averaged just under 17 minutes per game off the bench, but the offseason trade of Randy Foye and Brandon Rush’s continuing recovery from a torn ACL makes Burks the unquestioned starting shooting guard for Utah heading into the season.
Starting with a 26-point performance against the Sacramento Kings on Feb. 9, Burks averaged nine points per game over his final 29 games last season while playing 21 minutes per contest. The likelihood of more playing time this year is obviously good news, but is Burks on the verge of a breakout season for fantasy basketball owners?
Burks has career averages of 15.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.1 steals per-36 minutes played, which hints at the upside he has as a starter. With rookie point guard Trey Burke expected to miss 8-12 weeks with a fractured finger that will require surgery this week, Burks could have a primary role as a ball handler with John Lucas III slated to be Utah’s starting point guard early in the season right now.
I think Burks’ greatest contribution for fantasy owners will come as a scorer, though he should also contribute some in rebounds, assists and to a lesser degree steals. He only attempted 1.4 three-pointers per game last season, but made a solid percentage (35.9), so if he can add that to his offensive arsenal without dragging down his overall field goal percentage his fantasy value would climb.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.