clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Knicks could bolster bench with the return of Alec Burks

A sneaky good move

Detroit Pistons v Washington Wizards Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

After watching the Knicks almost blow the game to the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night, it’s clear a move likely needs to be made.

New York has many injuries, but even when healthy, bolstering the bench is never a bad idea. Bigger names such as Malcolm Brogdon, Jordan Clarkson, and Bruce Brown have been mentioned as trade options. Brogdon would be an amazing addition, which I discussed in my article on Monday.

Alec Burks:

Focusing on a player who wouldn’t make as many headlines, the Knicks would be smart to bring back Alec Burks. In the 2022 offseason, New York traded Burks to the Detroit Pistons to clear up cap space.

The current Detroit Pistons guard played for the Knicks in the 2021–21 and 2021–22 seasons. In 132 games with the Knicks, Burks averaged 12.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. He also hit around two three-pointers per game and shot 41 percent from deep. In the 2021 playoffs, he averaged 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game in the five-game defeat to the Atlanta Hawks.

Burks is having a really solid campaign in Detroit. For the NBA's worst Pistons, he’s averaging 12.3 points and shooting 39.2 percent from three on 5.7 attempts per game. Coming off the bench in the 42 games he’s played, the Pistons shooting guard is averaging 20.8 minutes per night. It doesn’t sound like much, and most people will likely just scroll past the tweet from Woj or Shams when they see it, but Alec Burks can be valuable. The 32-year-old is knocking down a career-high 2.2 three-pointers per game this season.

The Pistons have not done much winning since he came to town. Despite a 17-65 record last season, Burks finished with +2.5 win shares and a +1.2 box plus-minus. He had the highest offensive box plus-minus of his career and was only a -0.5 in defensive. This season, the Pistons guard is +1.1 in offensive win shares and +0.9 in offensive box plus-minus. For reference, Burks has been better in those categories than teammates Jaden Ivey, Killian Hayes, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Ausar Thompson. He’s finding ways to be effective out there on the offensive end.

On defense, the numbers have not looked great. He’s a -1.8 in the defensive box plus-minus. I don’t blame him for that since he’s coming off the bench and playing on a bad team that’s not super dedicated to defense. Looking back on his two seasons with the Knicks, Burks showed he can have an impact on that side of the ball. In the 2021–22 season, New York finished with a 37–45 record, missing the playoffs. Burks played 81 games that season and was +2.9 in defensive win shares and +1.2 in defensive box plus-minus.

The former Knick will be motivated, and if he doesn’t show those defensive capabilities, he’s not going to play much. Burks can bring needed spot-scoring, and he’s the type of player the Knicks could’ve used as the Grizzlies were charging back Tuesday night. If you need a bucket, Burks can help with that. The six-foot-five guard brings a nice amount to the table and will likely only cost a pair of second-round picks.

Follow Josh on Twitter for more Knicks news and stories.