Utah Jazz: Utah's Alec Burks embraced rare starting role with career-best night vs. Nuggets
He said long-range shooting isn't necessarily his strength; instead, it's driving to the basket and being able to finish once he gets there.
"I wasn't known to shoot that many 3s," he said. "I just try to attack the rim. That's my game."
And he insists that although he figured he'd be a starter in the NBA, being a sixth man seems to suit him just fine, too.
"It's not frustrating," he said of his customary non-starting role. "That's what the team needs. Whatever coach Ty wants, I do it. ... Just whatever Ty needs. If he needs me to be a spark off the bench, I'll do that and I'll do it to the best of my ability. That's what I've been trying to do.
"But when I came into the league, I did think I was gonna be a starter."
And when asked if he feels like he's ready to start on a nightly basis, the ever-confident Burks didn't back down from the question.
"I feel like I am," he said. "I'm a lot more mature than I was — I was 19 when I came in (to the NBA) — and I feel like I'm a lot better player now so I feel like I am."
Depending on Hayward's health situation, Burks may very well be in the starting lineup again Wednesday night when the Jazz face the Spurs, who at 30-8 boast the best record in the Western Conference, in a nationally televised (ESPN) matchup at the AT&T Center.
It's the opener of a three-games-in-four-nights road trip for Utah (13-26), which has already lost twice this season to San Antonio in Salt Lake City.
"It's a great trip for us," Corbin said. "The Spurs is, if not the best, one of the best teams in the league, and they're playing very well right now. So we're going on their home floor and it's not going to be easy.
"We have to understand that nothing's going to surprise those guys and they're going to be who they are; they're going to play hard on both ends of the floor, and they're going to execute on the offensive end. Defensively, we've got to make sure we understand the rotations and be able to take away some of the stuff that makes them effective, with (Tony) Parker driving or Tim Duncan on the block or the mid-post area.
"So our rotations have to be quick because they space the floor and hit 3-point shots," he said. "It's a team that's very sharp, very experienced, and it's going to be a great challenge for us."
Burke readily agreed, but he appeared eager and ready for the tough test that awaits him and his teammates on their trip to Texas.
"They're a really good team, really well-coached, obviously with Tim Duncan and Tony Parker," he said, "so we're going to have to come out and play from the get-go. Especially being on the road, it's important for us to come out with a lot of intensity and try to set the tone and match their tone.
"The key is coming out with energy. You don't want to fall behind on the road; obviously the crowd's against you, so you basically want to stay in the game and try to go up if you can. You don't want to just come out really stagnant or come out flat as a team, because it can definitely bite you."
Burke looked forward to his matchup with Parker, his Spurs counterpart at point guard.
"He's one of the top guards in the league, and it should be a real challenge," the Jazz rookie said. "I have to be ready to play him for 48 minutes, be ready to stop him in transition, and just try and distract him as much as possible on the defensive end."
But, like an announcer trying to keep that Burke-and-Burks backcourt duo straight, it's easier said than done. Or in the announcer's case, maybe it's easier done than said.
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