Utah Jazz

NBA Predictions: Is Alec Burks a Future NBA All-Star?

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 07:  Alec Burks #10 of the Utah Jazz drives on Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on January 7, 2012 in Oakland, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Andrew WallockContributor IApril 4, 2012

Some time ago, I wrote a piece considering the future of Paul Millsap as an NBA player and whether or not the power forward would some day have the honor of playing in an NBA All-Star game.

Since that was published, Millsap has yet to receive the nod. While this year and last year were his best chances, I still think the time will come for Millsap and especially for Al Jefferson. Both veteran big men deserve recognition for keeping such a young team in contention and relevancy after such a disastrous 2010-2011 campaign.  

This time around, I'd like to examine the young rookie guard out of Colorado, Alec Burks, and whether or not one day he'll make it to the status of stardom for the Utah Jazz. While I believe it will eventually happen, a number of things need to occur in order for the rookie to don an All-Star jersey. 

As a two-year player at Colorado (a school sometimes forgotten in its conference amongst powerhouses like UCLA, Arizona, Stanford and Washington), Burks averaged 19 points, almost six rebounds and 2.4 assists a game.

He relied heavily on his athleticism, which is something he'll have to stray away from in the NBA. It's not bad to be a freak athletically, but in order to prove his status as an All-Star he'll need to show a greater range of abilities rather than just being athletic. There are plenty of "athletes" in the D-League and Europe.

His athleticism makes it easy for him to slash to the rim and finish with ease. We've seen plenty of that already early on in his NBA career. Burks' aggressiveness has endeared him to Utah Jazz fans and they are already calling for him to start over C.J. Miles. He also has a knack of getting to the foul line, something that superstars need to know how to do on a consistent basis. 

If he can improve on a few minor things, then the sky will be the limit for this young shooting guard.

Already being compared to the likes of DeMar DeRozan and a young Eddie Jones, Burks needs to add a little range and develop a decent jump shot. If he can add a three-point shot to his range, he could be downright deadly on most nights. 

And of course, he needs to bulk up in order to handle an 82-game schedule against freak athletes in the league. 

Burks has oodles of potential and many NBA fans really like what they see thus far in his young career.

Currently, he's posting averages of seven points a game and a little over two rebounds while shooting 43 percent from the floor. Unfortunately, he's only shooting 28 percent from three-point range and 69 percent from the foul line. If he's going to be a slasher and get to the rim, obviously his foul shooting needs to improve or it's all pointless. 

There's a learning curve in the NBA and he still has time to learn. A lot of it will come as he gets older and starts receiving more consistent minutes. As always, there will be a few rookie growing pains to sort through, and earning the confidence of your coach is paramount.

Tyrone Corbin already seems to like what he sees in the rookie. In an article published in the Deseret News out of Salt Lake City, Corbin said, "'It's been fun. It's frustrating sometimes because they are young and they (make) young mistakes. But, you know what, they're growing. They're playing hard. They're trying to get better. They're studying the game and you see the growth as a result of that.'"

But Burks hasn't seemed to lack much confidence yet. And that, in itself, puts him worlds ahead of most rookies. 

On Burks before the draft, an NBA scout said the following on ESPN.com:

"I'm usually skeptical about the kids that aren't tagged by the high school scouting services [...]. They do a great job and it's pretty rare when a kid slips past their radar -- especially one who won Gatorade Player of the Year honors in Missouri. But this kid is for real. He's got the ability to play both guard positions, is an NBA-caliber athlete and can really get to the basket. If he can really fine-tune that jump shot, add some muscle and show he can play some point, I think he could go really, really high." 

If you take out that last sentence, I could easily see him saying, "He could make an All-Star caliber player." 

Kobe Bryant even noticed Burks in a home loss to the Jazz this last month and took the time to give him a shout out. An article in the Salt Lake Tribune has him quoted saying, "That young kid (Burks) drove to the basket and got a big three-point play which was a tough shot. They made big plays."

If you have Kobe noticing you already in your young career, then you're bound to have a fantastic future. 

But that is entirely up to Burks. He has the potential, the motivation and all the keys to become one of the greats, but will he be able to put it all together? 

Only time will tell. 

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