Veteran guard Alec Burks should add to Pistons’ second unit once healthy

Detroit News

Washington, D.C. — Pistons guard Alec Burks doesn’t have a timetable to return from his fractured left navicular, but he’s getting his fair share of run during three-on-three and four-on-four games and scrimmages toward the end of the team’s practices and shootarounds.

Burks, along with Kevin Knox, Rodney McGruder and Nerlens Noel participated in a spirited game of full-court “four-on-four” with the team’s assistant/developmental coaches Keith Bogans, Rashard Lewis and Austin Dufault on Tuesday ahead of the Pistons’ matchup against the Wizards.

Knox showed an ability to push the ball in transition, going coast to coast for an easy layup, along with a sidestep 3-pointer. His teammate McGruder knocked down open 3-pointers when the opportunity presented itself. Noel took advantage of his matchup in an isolation situation and drained a mid-range shot. While Burks, who was the main offensive weapon on his team, made a series of turnaround jumpers and 3-pointers from the top of the key.

Burks, who was defended full-court by former NBA guard Bogans, mishandled the ball at times but showed the ability to get to his spots, especially in the post and on the wing.

Burks averaged 11.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, three assists and one steal in 28.6 minutes through 81 games (44 starts) with the Knicks in 2021-22. He dropped a season-best 34 points against the Pistons on Dec. 29, 2021. During that season, Burks played through the foot injury he’s currently healing from.

When Burks is healthy enough to return to the lineup, he will give the Pistons another playmaker in the second unit since he’s able to create his own shot. A much-needed addition since Detroit averages just 27 bench points per game. Burks made 40% of his 3-pointers with the New York Knicks last season.

“He’s still a ways away,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said Monday. “Not putting a timetable on it. He’s getting some work in, but nothing live.

“The main thing is terminology, understanding the terminology on the fly, in the heat of the moment. I think that’s most important because he’s a smart player. Just getting up to speed from what he with (Tom Thibodeau) to what he’s running with us.”

Cruise pick Turell, Digbeu in G League draft

The G League held its annual draft on Saturday and the Motor City Cruise, the Pistons’ G League affiliate, selected Ryan Turell and Tom Digbeu with the 27th and 28th overall picks, respectively.

Turell, a 6-foot-7 forward was named the 2021-22 NABC Division III Player of the Year after averaging 27.1 points per game as a senior at Yeshiva. He is the first Orthodox Jewish player to be selected in the NBA G League Draft. Turell led the Maccabees to 50 consecutive wins from 2019 to December of 2021.

Digbeu, a 6-5 combo guard from Barcelona, Spain, has played in several international leagues since 2016. Digbeu was a member of the Brisbane Bullets and played 19 games in the 2021-22 National Basketball League, averaging 4.6 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game.

The two newest members of the Cruise join Pistons two-way players Braxton Key and Buddy Boeheim on the Cruise’s 17-player training camp roster, which was released Monday. Also on the roster is Jules Bernard, Stanley Umude and Devontae Cacok, who were all part of the Pistons’ training camp roster.

mcurtis@detroitnews.comTwitter: @MikeACurtis2

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