The NBA's Western Conference is primed for an amazing playoff race, as the No. 4 Memphis Grizzlies (25-20) are currently separated from the No. 9 Denver Nuggets (26-22) by just one half game, but the No. 7 Utah Jazz (26-22) might just have a secret weapon to gain some separation in the final weeks of the season. Alec Burks, former Colorado Buffaloes star guard and the No. 12 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft struggled at the outset of the season and received very little playing time for head coach Tyrone Corbin, but he has been terrific in the last two months.
In 11 February games, Burks received 14.3 minutes per game of playing time, and parlayed that into averages of 6.5 points on 48.2 percent shooting, 2.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists per contest. The upward trend has continued in March, as Burks is playing 19.3 minutes per game and has bumped his scoring average up to 8.4 points on 48.2 percent accuracy from the field. In his last 10 games (as of March 23), the talented combo guard has averaged 10.4 points, 2.8 rebounds.
His recent stretch of play has helped the Jazz win six consecutive games and catapult back into the thick of the playoff race, with his most notable contributions coming in wins against the Timberwolves (15 points on 6-8 FGs), Lakers (season-high 17 points on 7-10 FGs) and Nuggets (15 points on 6-10 FGs). Could the 20-year old combo guard be a wildcard that helps tip the scales in Utah's favor down the stretch? Stay tuned.
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