Burks’ NBA leap must’ve been easier when others stayed

0 Comments

When Alec Burks becomes a lottery pick in June’s NBA draft, he should send “thank you” notes to Harrison Barnes, Jared Sullinger and Perry Jones.

The Colorado shooting guard announced Thursday that he’ll declare for the draft and likely sign an agent. He was always a first-round talent, but it wasn’t until those three freshmen elected to return to school that Burks could feel like the lottery was a sure thing.

Sometimes, patience really does pay off.

“I felt like I was going to be a top-10 pick in the lottery and I felt like it was something I couldn’t pass up,” Burks said.

       View complete list of early entrants here

Burks is projected as the 12th overall pick by draftexpress.com, and 14th by ESPN.com. Both would make him a lottery selection.

The 6-6 Burks led Colorado in scoring (20.5 ppg) and assists (2.9) and was second in rebounding (6.5). But even though he shot a ton (30.8 percent of CU’s attempts) and his 3-point shooting wasn’t impressive (he made 29 percent of 96 shots), he still managed to be an efficient scorer (115.7 ORtg). In fact, among [layers who used at least 28 percent of their team’s possessions, Burks was the seventh-most efficient scorer in 2010-11, just ahead of Jimmer Fredette and Nolan Smith, among others.

Not bad for a sophomore on a team that missed the NCAA tournament.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.