Is Knicks’ Alec Burks being phased out of the rotation?

New York Knicks guard Alec Burks (18) drives for a shot against Atlanta Hawks forward Bruno Fernando (24) during the second half at Madison Square Garden
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks G Alec Burks has struggled mightily since being traded to New York from the Detroit Pistons. While not projected to play a substantial amount of minutes anyway, Burks has seen his playing time decrease steadily amidst his struggles, raising the question as to whether or not he should stay in the rotation when the team returns to full strength.

Alec Burks has seen his playing time decrease amidst a shooting slump

In 12 games with the Knicks since being traded, Burks is averaging 7.7 points per game on just 31.7% FG and 29.4% from three-point range. Despite being a favorite of head coach Tom Thibodeau, his treacherous shooting splits have resulted in a decrease in playing time.

Through his first seven games with the team, Burks averaged 18.8 minutes per game. However, over his last five games, that number has dipped to just 10.2 minutes per game, including just 17 minutes combined over the Knicks’ last two games against the Orlando Magic, and Philadelphia 76ers.

The Knicks have signed backup guards during Burks’ struggles

The Knicks have also added guard depth recently during Burks’ shooting slump, signing G Shake Milton to a contract for the remainder of the season. Although Milton isn’t expected to be in the rotation, it speaks volumes as to how little Burks has provided for the Knicks so far.

Burks could find himself as the odd man out at full strength

The Knicks are slowly getting back to full strength, with Julius Randle (shoulder), OG Anunoby (elbow), and Mitchell Robinson (ankle) all expected to return sometime this month. Then they will have decisions to make on who stays in the rotation.

Burks, along with Miles McBride and Precious Achiuwa, are all possible “odd-man-out” candidates at full strength. However, given the recent play of McBride and Achiuwa, Burks has done himself no favors if he wishes to remain in the rotation.

With the Knicks now entering the stretch run of the season, along with much-needed reinforcements on the way, the team will need Burks to get out of his now prolonged shooting slump as soon as possible. While he still has time to turn things around, sooner rather than later he could earn himself a seat on the bench and out of the Knicks’ rotation if he doesn’t. His recent reduction in playing time suggests that head coach Tom Thibodeau may be running out of patience with the 32-year-old veteran.

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