Alec Burks Shows Off Quick Explosiveness With Dunk On Thomas Robinson

Before the Utah Jazz’s Gordon Hayward posterized Joel Freeland for the dunk of the preseason in his team’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers last night, teammate Alec Burks made a strong submission of his own. And while Burks’ slam isn’t quite on the level of Hayward’s, yamming on Thomas Robinson is a bit more impressive than catching Freeland.


This is a very important year for Burks. He’ll be a restricted free agent next summer unless the Jazz sign him to an extension before October 31, a possibility that seems unlikely. Though the Colorado product has made strides each of the three seasons he’s been in the league thus far, Burks has yet to establish himself as a fixture of Utah’s future. The summer arrival of Dante Exum – a younger, cheaper, more potential-laden player that carries a similar physical profile – only cast more doubt on Burks’ position with the Jazz.

To be sure, there’s room on the Utah perimeter for Burks, Exum, and 2013 first-round pick Trey Burke. Hayward’s versatility means he can play small-ball power forward for stretches, and coach Quin Snyder would obviously prefer keeping a player with the sometime dynamism of Burks in the fold.

But his flashes of two-way effectiveness need to be less fleeting. Burks must improve in the pick-and-roll and continue to develop as a three-point threat to reach his ceiling, and make a more concerted, focused effort defensively. Burks’ raw talent to be an impact player, though, is clearly here – this dunk is just the latest example.

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