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Grizzlies Free Agency Profiles: Alec Burks

Should the Grizzlies look to get lucky with the former lottery pick?

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Philadelphia 76ers v Boston Celtics - Game One Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Alec Burks – Guard, University of Colorado

29 years old, 6’6” 214 pounds, 6’10” wingspan

DRAFT: Utah Jazz 1st round (12th pick, 12th overall) 2011 NBA Draft

NBA Experience: 9 years with 5 teams (8 seasons with Utah; brief stints with Cleveland Cavaliers, Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, and Philadelphia 76ers in 2018-19 & 2019-20)

CAREER STATS: 495 games (21.8 minutes per game average), 10.3 points per game, 3.2 rebounds per game, 1.9 assists per game, 42.2% field goal percentage, 36.4% three point percentage, 79% free throw shooting, 47.1% effective field goal percentage, 14.1 PER, .074 win shares per 48 minutes.

2019-20 HIGHLIGHTS

Alec Burks’ career has had a number of highs and lows.

After two seasons of minimal contributions off the bench in Utah, Burks began to make the leap in his third season as the team’s sixth man and second leading scorer behind Gordon Hayward at 14 points per game. From there, Alec Burks couldn’t catch a break health wise. He would fracture his left ankle and fibula in 2015 missing a majority of the season. In 2016, he would undergo an arthroscopic procedure on the same ankle missing nearly half the season recovering. With minor injuries here and there, the last few seasons have been about staying healthy and proving that he is still the same player that the Jazz selected in 2011.

In the last two seasons, teams have played hot potato with Alec Burks, as he has played for 5 teams in the last two seasons. Burks has done his best in the varying roles he’s had with the myriad of teams he has suited up for, averaging 24.1 minutes per game as a role player and occasional starter.

He began last season with the Golden State Warriors and took full advantage of the opportunities presented by a Warriors team without Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. He was able to show that he was still the three level scorer and playmaker that he was at Colorado and showed flashes of being with the Utah Jazz. Out of players that played half the season with Golden State this season, Burks finished 2nd in scoring behind D’Angelo Russell with 16.1 points per game. The Warriors would send Burks to the 76ers halfway through the season and he would go on to produce for the playoff team in a reduced role.

Would he make a good addition to the Grizzlies bench as a veteran for the young Grizzlies team?

Numbers that make Burks

Philadelphia 76ers v Boston Celtics - Game One Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

38.5% - In his stints with Golden State and Philadelphia this season, Alec Burks was 116 for 301 from deep, averaging 4 attempts per game in his healthiest season since 2013-14 season. If he were to shoot like this again, which his career numbers say he will, it would make him one of the best perimeter shooters on the Grizzlies roster. The only members of the Grizzlies roster that shot better from distance are Grayson Allen and Jaren Jackson Jr. The Grizzlies need spacing and perimeter scoring to take the offense to the next level so the Grizzlies could potentially take a flier on Burks, who could play a role similar to Solomon Hill’s next season.

13.9 - Points per game Burks averaged off the bench this season.

1.1 - Between his two teams in the 2019-20 seasons, Alec Burks accumulated a 1.1 VORP (value over replacement player) showing his value over 100 possessions. Burks was a net positive player in terms of VORP and box plus/minus (+ 0.5) outranking a number of Grizzlies players in both categories.

Numbers that may make the Grizzlies pass on Burks

Philadelphia 76ers v Boston Celtics - Game One Photo by Ashley Landis - Pool/Getty Images

23.25 - The Grizzlies currently have two shooting guards on the roster that they seem to be heavily invested in in Dillon Brooks and Grayson Allen. Marko Guduric who is searching for minutes, and John Konchar who could be return under a main roster or two-way contract are already here. Then there is De’Anthony Melton, who could return as a valued member of the Grizzlies rotation. We witnessed Josh Jackson drop out of the rotation in the bubble, so the Grizzlies could focus on the young guards they already have on the roster that are all around 23 years old.

114 & -0.7 - Alec Burks finished last season with a 114 defensive rating and a -0.7 defensive box plus/minus. This would make him one of the worst defenders on the Grizzlies. For as much as he brings offensively, there are better alternatives on the team and on the market that will bring more on the defensive side of the ball.

Pulse of Grizz Nation

While the Grizzlies do not have a “championship ready” rotation yet, Grizz Nation likes what they saw in the next-generation Grizzlies last season. Grizz Nation seems indifferent on bringing in Burks with a reliance on the results of De’Anthony Melton’s free agency. Much like E’Twaun Moore, Grizzlies fans like the idea of adding a veteran shooter to the roster but not if it is to the detriment of the young players or for a high price tag.

The Final Offer

Philadelphia 76ers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Alec Burks will be entering his 10th season and is finally showing the ability to stay healthy. After experiencing the playoffs this season with the 76ers, I would expect a 10-year vet coming off two vet minimum contracts to capitalize off his best season in 4 years and try to get a chunk of the mid-level exception on a playoff team.

I side with Grizz Nation in believing that before even entertaining an offer for Burks, the focus should be on maintaining the services of De’Anthony Melton. I believe the Grayson Allen that appeared in the bubble can be consistent over an entire season, while bringing better defensive numbers than Burks. At this point in the Grizzlies rebuild, they can afford to take that risk and develop young talent instead of overpaying on a veteran.

The free agency pool for shooting guards isn’t particularly deep this offseason which could play in a role in Burks’ market value. 2021 will be the big offseason for guards, and that is where I would focus, if I am the front office — in terms of offering big pay days.

I’d offer him a one-year deal for 2.5 million dollars, the minimum for a player in his 10th season, at least. And due to the need for more shooting, I would maybe offer a slice of the mid-level exception for a season at best, if Melton goes elsewhere.

So to Alec Burks I say, Memphis needs a shoo-ter, this is cra-zy, so here’s our number, we’ll call you...maybe.

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