Four things the Utah Jazz should try in order to jump start the team

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER 01: Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz reacts to a second half foul during their 112-103 win over the Portland Trail Blazers at Vivint Smart Home Arena on November 01, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER 01: Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz reacts to a second half foul during their 112-103 win over the Portland Trail Blazers at Vivint Smart Home Arena on November 01, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images) /
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Joe Ingles Utah Jazz
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – OCTOBER 2: Alec Burks and Joe Ingles (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Move Alec Burks to the end of the bench

To any Jazz fans still alive and kicking on Alec Burks island, I’m sorry, but it’s time to fire up that flare gun and signal for someone to come rescue you. After what appeared to be a revolutionary showing in Utah’s season opener against the Denver Nuggets which saw Burks go off for 16 points in 15 minutes on 70 percent shooting, he’s done pretty much nothing since. And I’m not exaggerating.

Burks has been almost entirely a detriment all season long for the Jazz as whenever he comes into the game his play is littered with poor shots, bad decisions and unacceptable defense. Burks’ dismal performances have resulted in him boasting the worst net rating on the team (with exception of Tony Bradley who’s played five minutes of one game) by a long shot of -12. He finds himself in the same spot in plus/minus (-4.8) and has one of the worst field goal percentages on the team of 38.8 percent.

That’s all with a usage rate of 20.2 percent which is the fifth highest on the team above the likes of Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, Joe Ingles and Thabo Sefolosha all while averaging just 13.7 minutes per game, less than all of them. In other words, Burks is trying to do way, way too much and he’s not doing any of it well.

Even though Burks isn’t playing all that many minutes, a team that’s struggling on both ends of the court absolutely cannot afford to have a statistical black hole like Burks on the floor for any extended amount of time. Take the loss to Houston, for example. Burks logged 24 minutes, which was high for him, but during that span he went a whopping -34. Whether he’s played limited or slightly extended minutes, there’s no denying that he’s had mainly a negative impact on the Jazz.

Now I realize that part of the problem here is that there’s not much the Jazz can do to fix this. Or rather there is, but his name is Dante Exum and he won’t be taking the court any time soon. Nevertheless, rather than continue to let Burks bury the Jazz deeper into the ground, it’s time they gave a little bit more opportunity to Raul Neto and/or Royce O’Neale.

Neither one of those guys is going to turn this Jazz team into an instant winner by any stretch of the imagination. However, their strengths may be sufficient to counterbalance Burks’ weaknesses just enough that it gives the Jazz somewhat of a boost. Neto has been far from stellar for the Jazz this season, but he’s a lot more steady and a lot less mistake-prone than Burks.

Meanwhile, Royce O’Neale is practically completely unproven, but we know that he can defend well which is reason in and of itself to give him a shot over Burks who struggles to guard anybody, and it’s hard to imagine O’Neale’s offense being much worse if granted a similar amount of playing time. The Jazz opted to keep him on the roster over former fan favorite Joel Bolomboy to add some much-needed wing depth, so perhaps it’s time that he got a chance to show everyone why.

Regardless of who gets more of a nod between Neto or O’Neale, or if perhaps other players already well within the rotation simply swallow up the minutes, the fact of the matter is that Burks has done nothing to help improve this Jazz team of late. And because of that, as Utah looks for small ways to get better, moving Alec to the end of the bench should be a priority.