Of all the Jazz players, Alec Burks is the most likely one to have a highlight play. We have all grown to love the amazing layups that seemingly only he can pull off. In the month of February, Burks has elevated his game and lead the team in scoring with 15.64 points per game. So what is he doing that has caused him to have so much success?
It’s simple, he is doing what he is best at. Getting to the bucket! We all say no one can get to the basket like Burks, and these last two months prove exactly that. To examine this we are going to look at a simple advance stat called Free Throw Rate(FTr). This is simply free throws attempted divided by the field goals attempted.
As you can see, His Points per Game (PPG) have gone up every month, with very little change to his field goal attempts (FGA). How is he scoring more? Over the last two months Burks is getting to the line substantially more than he was in November and December. The increase is FTr has directly contributed to his increase in scoring. Burks’ minutes per game have actually gone down in February, but the increase in getting to the free throw line has led to a great average of 21.6 point per 36 minutes played.
So how great has Burks been at getting to the free throw line compared to the league? Elite. Alec’s 44.1% FTr is currently 10th best among non-center NBA players. However over the last two months Burks FTr is at an astounding 56.8%! That rate would far and above make him the best player in the NBA at getting to the line. This is an elite skill, and players with an elite skills in the NBA become great players.
The next thing that Burks has is complete in the restricted area at a much higher rate. Looking at the chart below we can see that as time passes, he has learned how to complete at the rim more successfully. The significance of his improvement over the last 30 days is that he has become a big part of our scouting report lately. This means he is learning to complete, even though defenses are keying in.
Alec has made more strides in his offensive game than any other Jazz player this year. He has not received any spotlight for it, but he should be in talks for Most Improved Player of the Year. If his minutes go up, his scoring average will too, which would help his cause for the award races. Win or lose that award, we are learning one thing this season and that is that Alec Burks can score the ball by getting to the rim with the best of them. There have been many talks about the Jazz needing a go to scorer, but Alec is making a case that they have one, he just needs more minutes.