ORLANDO, Fla. -- Placed at the top of the key in a high pick-and-roll, Alec Burks was in the role of playmaker during clutch time Thursday afternoon.
With the Utah Jazz' summer league team fending off an Indiana Pacers rally, this had become Burks' team as the second-year guard took over the point. He and Enes Kanter had the right idea on one play, but the pass was one instant too fast and Kanter one step out of position for a nice finish.
So Burks gets the defensive board, draws the foul and makes the free throws. Thursday's coach, Sidney Lowe, keeps Burks at the point and this time the two-man play results in a nice vertical finish by Jeremy Evans as the Jazz hold on for an 87-81 victory, their third straight in Orlando Pro Summer League play.
You can only make so much of a summer league stat line, even if it's Thursday's 22-7-5. Or putting up 31 points in 29 minutes like he did Tuesday against Philadelphia. It's the intangibles that are helping Burks make his case to be the Jazz' starting shooting guard come November.
"You want a player like that feeling like he's the best player on the court," Lowe said. "It's a mindset."
Burks has been single-minded all week. After a solid rookie season in which he averaged 7.2 points and 2.2 rebounds in 59 games, Burks entered his first summer league experience "on a mission."
"I'm trying to show I have a complete game," Burks said. "I feel good about how I've improved on defense and working my teammates. I want that (the No. 2 guard) job."
Lowe's enjoyed watching Burks progress since the former Colorado star was selected by the Jazz at the 12th pick in 2011.
"I like how patient he is now," Lowe said. "He knows how and where to get his shot off.
Even though Mo Williams is projected to start at point guard, Burks play Thursday showed he could add some additional depth at the position.
"He's capable of getting to the basket and making the pass as well," Lowe said.
Burks' 19.0 average is second in the Orlando summer league, which wraps up for the Jazz early Friday morning with a 6 a.m. breakfast meeting with Oklahoma City.
NOTES: Thursday was another day of progression for Kanter, who notched his second double-double of the week with 12 points and 11 rebounds. The downside: seven turnovers and a standstill at times with Indiana's Miles Plumlee .. . Blake Ahearn, the journeyman D-League call-up, had a nice game with 11 points ... DeMarre Carroll, slowed by an ankle injury, made his first appearance of the week, but it lasted only six minutes in the first half. He's a TBD for Friday ... The Jazz had impressive numbers for a summer league game, shooting 53 percent (32 of 60) from field and outrebounding Indiana 38-23 ... Larry Bird was sitting courtside near the Indiana bench.