With 21 games remaining in the 2011-12 regular season, Burks should see more playing time as the Jazz fight to make the playoffs in a hotly contested Western Conference. Currently Burks sits behind Miles on the depth chart, but how long that will continue is the question of the hour.
Burks showed coach Tyrone Corbin what he is made of in a brilliant fourth quarter at the Staples Center during a much-needed 103-99 win against the Lakers, and his contribution should be rewarded with a larger role in the last third of the season.
Miles is averaging 19.2 minutes per game to Burks' 13.9. Though Miles played 30 minutes against the Lakers, and did a good job defensively against Kobe Bryant in a rare off-night, Miles shot 18.1 percent from the floor on 2-of-11 from the field. That contrasts with Burks' 70 percent from the floor (7-of-10 shooting) in 20 minutes on the floor.
In the fourth quarter the difference in effectiveness was most pronounced. Burks went 6-of-6 in the fourth, including a stint when he scored six straight points for the Jazz. Miles, on the other hand, went 0-of-1 in the final period.
Miles is an unrestricted free agent this summer, and though the Jazz may be able to sign him for around $4 million a year, that money may be best spent on someone else—perhaps on Josh Howard, who is also an unrestricted free agent after the season.
Miles has spent his entire career in a Jazz uniform after being drafted out of high school in 2005. Continuity is generally a good thing in a fluid NBA market, but Miles may need a change of scenery in order to reset and become the player many in Utah have simultaneously hoped for and expected in recent years.
In the meantime, Corbin and the Jazz coaching staff must be smiling after watching Utah's young nucleus of Alec Burks, Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors contribute 46 points and 21 rebounds against a Los Angeles team that has consistently given them headaches over the years.
In L.A., no less.
Should be a great week.