The New York Knicks were heavily shorthanded again, but newcomer Alec Burks gave them a positive glimpse of what’s ahead Saturday night against the Pacers. Burks had 22 points (15 in the fourth quarter) while shooting 7-14 from the field and 4-7 from three-point range in 22 minutes off the bench despite the loss to the Pacers.
Alec Burks fills a major need for the Knicks
Burks gave the Knicks what they have been missing over the past month: a bench scorer who can create their own shot. After trading Immanuel Quickley in the OG Anunoby deal, New York’s bench became one of the least productive in the NBA in terms of scoring.
In the short term, Burks will be tasked to help carry the load of a depleted bench unit thanks to the large amount of injuries. Julius Randle and OG Anunoby will not return until at least after the All-Star break, Mitchell Robinson is still working his way back from ankle surgery, and Isaiah Hartenstein has been dealing with a nagging Achilles injury for some time.
Burks makes a fully healthy Knicks team incredibly deep
Looking ahead, Burks will give the Knicks significant depth off the bench when the team returns to full strength. When healthy, the Knicks are shaping up to be serious contenders in the Eastern Conference as they are one of the deepest, most well-rounded teams in the NBA.
Burks also has experience playing in a postseason setting under head coach Tom Thibodeau. Playing for the Knicks in Game 1 of the 2021 first-round playoff series against the Hawks, Burks scored 27 points on 9-13 shooting (3-5 from three) in 26 minutes off the bench.
Burks will be a massive piece going forward to enhance the team’s scoring, and as he molds himself back into Thibodeau’s system, expect his on-court impact to grow.
He will have his next opportunity to provide a positive impact when he and the Knicks take on the Houston Rockets on Monday.
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