NY Knicks: Could Alec Burks potentially return as a Starter?

Alec Burks, NY Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Alec Burks, NY Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

Alec Burks is set to enter unrestricted free agency after an impressive season with the NY Knicks.

The 29-year old averaged 12.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game on solid 42-42-86 shooting splits while coming off the bench.

Reggie Bullock was New York’s starting small forward for all of the regular season, providing a solid defensive punch to go along with a 41% shooting mark from three of his own.

However, he was extremely reliant on other players to get his looks, hardly ever creating his own shots off the dribble or getting into the paint.

The Atlanta Hawks were able to defeat the Knicks in the playoffs by hiding superstar Trae Young (a notoriously poor defender) on Bullock, as they knew that he couldn’t take Young off the dribble and bully him in the paint.

Should the NY Knicks bring back Alec Burks as a starter next year?

Bullock was an acceptable starter, but he’ll also be a free agent and the Knicks have to do better than acceptable next season.

The Knicks could possibly trade up in the draft for Bullock’s replacement, but knowing Tom Thibodeau and his hatred for rookies, that’s highly unlikely.

Burks should be the first option to serve as his replacement, as he provides almost exactly what Bullock lacks.

He’s excellent at creating his own offense off the dribble, with 45% of his made field goals this season being unassisted.

He can score from all levels, including a pull-up three that is almost impossible to guard when he’s in a zone.

He’s averaged 4.9 free throw attempts per 36 minutes in his career, showcasing an ability to get to the charity stripe and rack up points.

A return to the Knicks in a starting role would mean increased minutes, which Burks has thrived in.

In games this past season where he played at least 30 minutes, he averaged 20.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game on outstanding 45-44-87 shooting splits.

The Knicks finished with a record of 7-3 in those contests.

He has admittedly struggled with injuries throughout his entire career, including missing 23 games this past season.

However, he would still be a cheap option with tremendous upside as a starting small forward if the Knicks want to allocate the majority of their $50+ million in cap space towards finding a new point guard.

Burks isn’t a superstar, but he’s a fantastic role player who can create his own offense and is a threat to score 20 or more points on any given night.

Despite being a free agent, there’s a high likelihood that he ends up back with the New York Knicks next season. Whether that’s as a starter or a bench player, fans should be happy to see him return.

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