Utah Jazz NBA Draft Prospect: Jared Butler
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The NBA Draft is next week, and the Utah Jazz are positioned to make the 30th overall pick in the first round. Today we look at Baylor guard Jared Butler who finds his name commonly projected in the second half of the first round of the draft.
Butler averaged 16.7 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.3 rebounds during Baylor’s championship run as a junior.
The Big 12 guard also shot 47 percent from the floor and 41 percent from the three-point line during his final season with the Bears.
Jared Butler: Guard – Baylor
16.7 Points, 3.3 Rebounds, 4.8 Assists, 47.1/41.6/78.0
Strengths: Butler was one of the smoothest guards in college basketball last season, leading Baylor to the national title while earning Most Outstanding Player honors during the NCAA Tournament.
The Baylor guard has an incredible feel for the game, reading opposing defenses and comfortably taking whatever is given to him. Butler is a threat both as a scorer and playmaker for his teammates, knocking down better than 40 percent of his three-point shots as a junior while also dishing out 4.8 assists per game.
The junior displayed excellent ballhandling skills, easily navigating the floor against a variety of defensive looks in college while never getting pushed off his own pace. His tight handle and large collection of dribble moves allow him to break down defenders both attacking the paint and stepping back for threes.
Butler’s shooting is a true threat both with the ball in his hands and in catch and shoot situation, allowing him to create his own shot, and space the floor for players around him. He has a quick and fluid release which should translate seamlessly to the NBA.
As a playmaker, Butler has a strong feel for both timing and space, throwing creative passes to his teammates on the perimeter and in the paint off the dribble.
His wide variety of offensive skills will allow him to fit into almost any NBA offense.
Defensively Butler is aggressive on the ball at the point of attack and uses his 6’3 frame to stay in front of bigger guards. He’s a ballhawk in the passing lanes averaging 2.0 steals per game and had 11 games as a junior where he had three steals or more.
Weaknesses: Butler lacks elite length, standing 6’3 with just a 6’4 wingspan. While his shorter arms seem to give him better control on his dribble and a more compact shooting motion, he may struggle to finish near the rim in the NBA.
He shot better than 50 percent in the paint as a junior at Baylor but may need to rely more heavily on a floater at the next level rather than trying to get on top of the rim.
While he’s a good defender, he may not bring ideal defensive versatility to the modern NBA due to his smaller stature.
Furthermore, Butler benefitted defensively by being able to gamble for steals in college while playing alongside Davion Mitchell, arguably the best on-ball defender in the draft.
At 21, he may lack some of the same upside as some of the younger guards projected to be available at the end of the first round.
Overall: Butler is one of the most NBA-ready picks in the second half of the first round, but may not fall all the way to 30. Despite his age, his game could take another significant step in the NBA due to improved spacing and a more talented frontcourt.
While one of the younger guards drafted behind him in the first round could go on to have a better NBA career, it seems like a safe bet that he’ll outperform at least one of the more high sought-after backcourt players projected to be drafted in the lottery.
Despite his lack of ideal length, Butler proved to be one of the best players in all of college basketball last season and will make one team very happy in the draft.
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