Shooting guard Alec Burks originally thought he would be helping Paul George and Russell Westbrook take the Thunder to the promised land in 2019/20. But things change quickly in the NBA. Burks signed a one-year, $2.3MM veteran’s minimum contract with the Warriors this summer after Oklahoma City let out Burks of his deal once the team opted to rebuild following its trade of George to the Clippers.
Burks has been stuffing the stat sheet lately for an injury-depleted Golden State. And his efforts (including tallying 29 points and pulling down eight rebounds in 114-95 win over the Grizzlies this past Tuesday) have not gone unnoticed, as Logan Murdock of NBC Sports Bay Area reports.
“I definitely knew he could score,” three-time All-Star forward and defensive team lynchpin Draymond Green told Murdock. “When he’s been on any team, he comes off the bench and he gets it going. Going downhill, getting to the basket and I think he’s definitely improved his jump shot.” On such a favorable deal, Burks could serve as a spark plug bench shooter for a contender this spring.
There’s more news from around the Pacific:
- In an excellent piece on the upstart Suns, The Athletic’s John Hollinger notes that the team, currently 8-7, has reason to be optimistic about their season outlook. Hollinger suggests that, with several teams amongst the 2018/19 Western Conference playoff crop already off to rocky starts, the conference feels wide open. A postseason berth is hardly off the question for the team, which has seen ample improvement after adding Ricky Rubio and Aron Baynes this summer, not to mention new head coach Monty Williams and incumbent star shooting guard Devin Booker. Hollinger credits Rubio as a big component to the team’s current two-way improvement, and Williams as a major culture-setting upgrade.
- USA Today’s Mark Medina observes that the Clippers have already determined their late-game dynamics with All-NBA forwards Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, their two blockbuster team additions from this offseason. This, of course, spells trouble for the rest of the league. “That’s the beauty of this team. Nobody cares who’s getting the shots down the stretch or who gets the looks,” George noted. “You have a group of guys that just want to win.”
- After the Lakers eked out a 109-108 win against the Grizzlies yesterday, All-Star forward LeBron James registered his ire at a lack of foul calls in his favor granted by the game’s attendant referees (he had zero free throw attempts). “I’m living in the paint,” James said after the game, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “If you look at my arm right here, these are four or five [scratches] that happened the last two games, and they weren’t called at all.” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel shares James’ frustration, and apparently intends to bring the officiating up with the NBA. “We’ll deal with the proper channels and talk to the league about that,” Vogel said.