"But he knows better now what he's getting ready to face. And he's working smarter at getting himself ready on both ends of the floor. His body has gotten better from the standpoint of how he can move and use his hands on the defensive end and get over screens and get small at times and stay wide and big at times on smaller guys. His knowledge of the different things he can use that he has against different opponents is increasing.
"I think, along with his physical play, I think the mental aspect of thinking the game — there's still another level that he has to grow there on — is where he's made strides there," Corbin said.
Burks was taken by Utah with the 12th overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft out of the University of Colorado, where the former Missouri high school player of the year spent two seasons, averaging 19 points per game, and was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year in 2010.
He has averaged a little more than 7 points, 2 rebounds and an assist per game in his first two NBA seasons, shooting around 42 percent from the field, 35 percent from 3-point range and 72 percent from the foul line.
But those scoring, rebounding and assist numbers are expected to take a dramatic jump this season with his expanded role and increased playing time.
Most folks figure the young Jazz are going to struggle to find wins this season, but Burks — never one to lack confidence — thinks they could surprise some people if they continue to stay after it and don't get discouraged.
"We're gonna work hard," he said. "It doesn't matter what everybody's talking about us. We're going to work hard and we know what type of team we have, so we're just going to keep getting better every day.
"We're young, of course, young and skilled with athleticism. We're hard workers, we've got great chemistry and we play hard, that's the main thing.
"We just have to play hard every night," Burks said. "If we do that, you know, a lot of things could fall in our favor. You never know what can happen over the course of a season."
One thing we do know, however, is that Alec Burks is going to play a lot, probably every night, and now that he's going to get this opportunity, he's not backing down from anybody.
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