With the draft drawing nearer by the day, the HQ starts taking a look at some of the top options for the Raptors this year...starting with Colorado's Alec Burks...
So are we done with the Andrea Bargnani drama?
Maybe for now, but I've got a feeling his name will keep popping up over the summer both in regards to fit with whomever the Toronto Raptors select in the draft, and via trade rumours.
For now though, I'm prepared to put things to rest as it does now appear that Andrea's comments were misconstrued, and the reality is that the real focus right now should be the upcoming draft.
Bryan Colangelo even addressed the situation yesterday on a must-listen-to episode of Tim and Sid, saying that what Toronto Star columnist Dave Feschuk wrote regarding the situation, "while not completely off-base, was inaccurate."
So let's cut back to the draft shall we?
Every year we take an in-depth look at these names and this morning we kick it off with a player projected to be a top 10 pick, and one that Bryan Colangelo mentioned early in this draft process as being of interest to the Raps.
This player is none other than Colorado's Alec Burks.
I saw quite a bit of Burks watching Big 12 action last year (I still can't believe Colorado didn't get an NCAA tourney bid) and his athleticism and scoring ability stood out from the pack. He wasn't a great shooter, but possessed many of the other intangibles that teams look for in an NBA shooting guard, and as a result, it seemed likely that he would make his sophomore season with the Buffaloes, his final one.
Sure enough, Burks declared on April 21 and has been viewed as a lottery pick, potentially even top 10, since that time.
Recently, Hoopsword had a nice piece on Burks but to really get a good understanding of Alecs' game, I turned to the folks at SB Nation's, "The Ralphie Report," covering the Colorado Buffaloes, and Bob Bell obliged us with this great breakdown:
Alec Burks was recruited to play at Colorado by former NBA head coach Jeff Bzdelik out of Grandview High in Missouri. Burks was named High School player of the year in Missouri but was rather lightly recruited by the rest of the Big 12 (only other legitimate offer came from Kansas State late in the process). Between the time Burks signed with Colorado and when he enrolled, he grew an additional four inches which really benefited him at the college level. Many feel he may still be growing now. Very early in his Colorado career, Buff fans knew they had a special player. As a freshman, he scored double digits in every game except one, the 21stgame of the season where he was hurt in the first minutes of the contest against Iowa State and didn't return. Not only did Burks score consistently his freshman season, he scored very efficiently, shooting well over 50% for the year.
As a sophomore, Burks continued to be the Buffs' best scorer and led the team to the NIT semifinals. Burks was named first team All Big 12 averaging over 20 points per game and six rebounds. He will go down as one of the best scorers in Colorado history. He was 3rd all-time in scoring average at Colorado with 19.0 ppg, 7th in free throw percentage (.804) and holds the CU freshman (512) and sophomore (779) scoring records. I also think the NBA team that gets him will be surprised about how he can rebound at the next level. He was second on the team in rebounding a year ago and his 397 career rebounds ranks sixth among CU guards all time in just two years.
Like I said earlier, Burks was extremely consistent and efficient over the past two years. He had 54 games with at least five or more FGs and 41 games with 18+ points, 39 games which he shot over 50% from the field.
Burks has a great ability to get to the rim which helps him shoot a high percentage and score points in bunches. He is deadly when he moves without the basketball cutting towards the rim. He also knows how to get to the free throw line and when he is there, he shoots a high percentage. Very comparable to a Carmelo Anthony in his ability to get to the paint and score or get fouled. He isn't a flashy scorer but the type of scorer when you look at the stat sheet every night, he has 24 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals.
His size is another great quality for a perimeter player and he may be growing still. At 6'6", he has the ability to elevate over small players on the perimeter. He isn't afraid to rebound and when he commits himself, he can be a good defender.
The biggest weakness you will read about Burks is his outside shot. He isn't a great three point shooter with most of his points coming from within 15 feet. He has an unorthodox shot mechanically that will need to be fine tuned. He can score from the outside but he has a long way to go to become a "shooting" guard instead of a simply inhabiting the 2 spot.
Sometimes he can get lackadaisical on the defensive end. A coach that can keep his motor going night in and night out on both ends of the floor will get the most out of Alec. He also could add some weight which will help him stay healthy and maintain success over an 82 game season.
Has room to grow as a ball handler.
He has all the talent and athleticism you could want in a perimeter player. He is very young and has room to grow into his frame. If he can become more consistent with his outside shot, he can score from anywhere on the court. He isn't afraid of contact and his ability to get into the paint is a great way to fill up the stat sheet on an off shooting night.
-Future as an NBA SG
Like I said above, he needs to develop into a shooting guard. He definitely isn't a point guard, but isn't a treu shooting guard yet either.
A big thanks again to Bob and the folks at the Ralphie Report for the breakdown.
For me, the player I compare Burks most to incidentally is DeMar DeRozan.
Both were exceptional athletes out of college with suspect outside shots, but who could bring down the house with a big dunk:
Both DeMar and Alec were also college players who could attack the rim with ease, but who needed to improve their ball-handling abilities at the next level.
In that sense then, it probably doesn't make a ton of sense for the Raps to draft another DeMar, especially not at 5.
But what if Colangelo sees another need that he can address by trading Demar, and moving down in this draft a few places?
Perhaps the mere suggestion of moving DeRozan is sacrilege to some, but really, I'm not sure there's anyone save for maybe Ed Davis who warrants an "untouchable" status on this club, so if BC can make some moves to secure an elite 3 or 5 I'm all for it.
If that's the case then, perhaps come end of June, Alec Burks becomes a member of the Dinos.