SALT LAKE CITY -- For so long, it seemed all the Utah Jazz had were traditional point guards.
John Stockton, the NBA's all-time assist leader, played more than 1,500 games for the Jazz. He became an All-Star and a Hall-of-Famer while running Utah's offense like a quarterback.
Deron Williams, once Stockton's heir apparent, spent five-plus seasons with the Jazz and ranks No. 4 on the team's all-time assists list.
Now a member of the Brooklyn Nets, D-Will made headlines Wednesday night when he recorded his 5,000th career assist in a victory over Detroit.
Alec Burks isn't like either one of those two.
At 6-foot-6 with quickness and an ability to score at any moment, Burks is a natural two guard. However, with injuries to Mo Williams and reserve Earl Watson, the 21-year-old has been pressed into service as Utah's backup point.
"The game has evolved, so I feel like the position has evolved," he said. "There's a lot of scoring point guards out there right now."
Burks isn't unfamiliar with playing the point. He said he played it most of his life until he had a growth spurt in high school and got switched to shooting guard.
Even during his college days as Colorado he spent some time running the offense.
In that regard, he's what hoop analysts and experts refer to as a "combo guard," meaning he's a hybrid of sorts of who can play either position.
Of late, Burks and Randy Foye -- Utah's starting two guard -- have been job sharing in the backcourt, splitting the responsibilities depending on the other team's defense.
"Randy's a good combo guard, too," Burks said. "He can run the point as well as me. I can play the two, as well. It's a great thing to have two ball-handlers out there."
Chances are good they'll continue to do that tonight when the Jazz (28-22) play host to the Chicago Bulls (29-19) at EnergySolutions Arena.
"I'm always ready," Burks said. "You never know when your time is going to come."
Veteran Jamaal Tinsley remains Utah's starting point guard. As evidenced by his stat line from Wednesday's victory over Milwaukee -- two points on 1-for-3 shooting, five assists -- he, like Stockton and Deron Williams, thinks pass first, shoot second.
But Burks and Foye combined for nearly 60 minutes of playing time, scoring 20 points on 7-for-18 shooting, with each hitting a pair of 3-pointers.
"You don't know who's going to have the ball and who's not," Burks said. "It's just catching the defense off guard."
From his position in the post, Jazz center Al Jefferson said he has noticed the evolution of the point guard.
"Right now, the NBA is really dominated by point guards, there's a lot of great point guards," he said. "I think now it's becoming more of a point guard game than when I first got in the league. A lot of (isolation plays)."
The pick-and-roll remains the league's staple play, but as Jefferson noted, a new mindset among points is to simply blow past bigger defenders with a one-on-one drive to the basket.
Jefferson said he doesn't think the Jazz should turn Burks into a point guard, but rather continue to find ways to use his versatility as an advantage in the backcourt.
"Yes, I think he can adjust to (the role)," he said.
Watson, who tends to fall into the more tradition definition of a point, said Burks needs to stay true to himself.
"I think Alec is going to do the best he can," he said. "He's going to always be aggressive and be confident. He might have some mistakes but mistakes are a part of basketball. I don't care how many mistakes he has just as long as he does it in an aggressive fashion."