Alec Burks

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in deflating 114-106 loss to Jazz

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Warriors takeaways: What we learned in deflating 114-106 loss to Jazz

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Warriors big man Marquese Chriss said his team was "tired of losing" during his halftime interview with NBC Sports Bay Area's Kerith Burke on Friday at Vivent Smart Home Arena.

Unfortunately for Chriss, the Warriors will have to wait at least two more days to erase their current skid, as Golden State lost 114-106 to the Jazz. 

Unlike most nights, the Warriors -- without Draymond Green and rookie Eric Paschall -- showed fight, taking a seven-point lead after the first quarter. However, a second-half Utah run doomed their chances as the Warriors' inability to finish crippled them once again. 

There are no moral victories in sports and the Warriors will take another loss back to the Bay Area. 

Here are the takeaways as the Warriors fell to 5-22 on the season: 

Fast start erased in one quarter

The Warriors have been immune to quick starts over the last week. On Friday, the trend changed. Through the first 24 minutes, Golden State outscored Utah 26-18 in the paint, while holding the Jazz to just 43 percent from the field. 

Utah's defense was out of sorts in the second quarter, as the Warriors built a 13-point lead. On one possession, Chriss blocked a shot on one end, ran the floor unguarded and received a pass wide open under the basket for an easy dunk. 

Then the third quarter happened.

Over the next 12 minutes the Warriors were outscored 37-28. Even when the Warriors fought back, a key missed dunk from Willie Cauley-Stein ended any hopes of a win. 

The Warriors have shown fight amid injuries, but the only mark of success is winning, a goal the team again couldn't accomplish in Utah. 

Alec Burks shines

Against his former team, Burks was effective, finishing with 24 points including two 3-pointers. Despite shooting just 41 percent from the field this season, Burks has shown the ability to carry Golden State's offense when needed. His downhill attack consistently puts the opponent on edge. 

The location of Burks' output is noteworthy. He spent eight years playing in Utah before injuries derailed his career. His affinity for the town was apparent from the time he walked into the building. Following his pregame workout, he spent most of his time exchanging pleasantries with former teammates and arena staff, causing a Warriors team official to jokingly ask, "When is Alec's statue going up?"

[RELATED: Burks wants to stay with Warriors]

Chriss shined despite scare

The first-year Warrior continued his reclamation bid, finishing with 12 points, adding 13 rebounds and two blocks in 23 minutes off the bench. 

Chriss had a slight scare in the third quarter when he knocked knees with a Jazz player contesting a layup. He was later diagnosed as a left knee contusion. 

Following a rough start to his career, Chriss has become a valuable piece to the transitional Warriors, providing rebounding and scoring off the bench. Friday was yet another example of his contributions.

Alec Burks expresses desire to remain with Warriors for long term

Alec Burks expresses desire to remain with Warriors for long term

SALT LAKE CITY --  Warriors guard Alec Burks has known stability for much of his NBA career.

That all changed a little more than a year ago, when -- after eight seasons with the Jazz -- he spent much of last season floating between three teams in six months. Even in free agency, when players exert the most control over their destination, he technically was an employee of two teams in the span of a week.

However, while standing on the floor where he's spent most of his NBA career, he expressed interest in being with his current team long term.

"Yeah, I like it here," Burks said following shoot-around Friday morning at Vivant Smart Home Arena. "Great culture, great players, great coaching staff. I would love to."

Burks' current reality didn't seem plausible during the onset of his career. During his first five seasons, he averaged 10.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game, and that performance led to a four-year, $42 million contract in 2014. Then, his base began to crumble, as a series of stress fractures limited the wing to just 100 games over a two-year period, putting the stability of his career in peril.

Last season, Burks was traded three times, finishing the season averaging just 1.7 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.8 assists in 13 games with the Sacramento Kings. In July, Burks agreed to a deal with the Thunder, believing he'd play with Paul George and Russell Westbrook. When both were traded, he was let out of his contract, ultimately signing a one-year deal with the Warriors for basic factors.

"I just knew it was championship-oriented because they were winning so much," he said. "I could see how Steve [Kerr] coached them from afar and the way they worked."

While he's shooting just 42 percent for the season, Burks has shown an ability to score in spurts. Last month against the Grizzlies, he scored 17 of his team-high 29 points in the first half, adding eight rebounds in 36 minutes, helping the Warriors to their second win of the season.

With the Warriors in transition, Burks says he wants to be a part of their climb back to championship form.

"Now I'm a part of it, I just see how everything is laid back," he said. "They work hard, and they go about their business and have fun doing it."

While Burks sees a future in the Bay, his comfort level in Salt Lake is apparent. Just before Golden State's last matchup with Utah more than two weeks ago, Burks spent an extra 15 minutes on the floor conversing with old teammates and arena staff following his pregame workout, an ode to the stability he once had.

"I built real relationships with everybody in the arena. Not just the players but people that worked for the team. People that work in the arena," he said. "They showed me love, so I show them love back."

[RELATED: Ask Kerith: Why Warriors belong to the entire Bay Area]
 
Burks might have an opportunity to build that in the Bay for years to come, but as he knows all too well, that opportunity won't be promised.

"You never know in this league," he said. "You never know."

Why Warriors might be very active before, after NBA trade deadline

Why Warriors might be very active before, after NBA trade deadline

The Warriors (5-21) lost at home to the lowly Knicks on Wednesday and have the worst record in the NBA.

The 2019-20 season "doesn't matter" in that the Dubs are not going to win the title and they are not going to the playoffs.

But what transpires this year absolutely matters in the long-term. When it comes to player development, the franchise needs to find out what they have and determine who they want to keep moving forward.

Additionally, the organization has the opportunity to avoid the luxury tax for the first time since the 2016-17 season.

To recap -- Golden State paid the tax in 2015-16, 2017-18 and 2018-19. When you do that three times in a four-year span, you then have to pay "repeater tax" penalties if you make it four times in five years. (Basically, the organization would write an even bigger check to the league.)

But if the Warriors find a way to duck below it by July 1, they also would automatically avoid being a "repeater tax" team in 2020-21 -- which would save Joe Lacob, Peter Guber and the rest of ownership a lot of dough.

How much exactly? Well, as John Hollinger of The Athletic writes:

While the Warriors have cash pouring in from the brand new Chase Center, people who are making money still like to make more money.

If they use the Iguodala exception and their taxpayer mid-level exception, and add a first-round pick near the top of the draft, Golden State’s payroll next season could reach $175 million or more, which would trigger a gigantic $108 million luxury tax bill. The repeater would add $34 million on top of that.

Lacob has proven to be somebody who is more than willing to pay whatever is necessary to compete for a championship. But the Dubs aren't in that position this season.

So it would make perfect sense if general manager Bob Myers is able to execute some trades before the Feb. 7 deadline that puts the Warriors closer to the tax threshold (they are about $6 million above) or completely under.

As ESPN's Brian Windhorst said on Nov. 4 when discussing veteran players such as Alec Burks, Willie Cauley-Stein and Glenn Robinson III:

"Some of these guys that they've signed, I don't think they really have much use anymore. I think we're gonna see the Warriors make a series of trades. They're all gonna seem minor in the short-term, but I think we're gonna see them be pretty active messing with this roster going forward."

Also keep in mind that if the Warriors stand pat and keep the roster intact, they could make one big trade in late May (after they find out their draft position) or in late June around the NBA draft.

And don't worry -- they aren't going to make any moves that make the roster worse next season just to save money. This franchise wants to win more than anything, and management will be even hungrier after experiencing this dismal season.

[RELATEDRussell explains worst part about current Dubs situation]

Hollinger sums it up well:

The Warriors have a major financial incentive to get below the tax line because of their likely payroll strategy for next season and the nonexistent stakes remaining in the current one. Keep an eye on them as we get closer to February.

It's going to be fascinating to watch it all unfold.

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