UTAH JAZZ

Utah Jazz Draft Baylor Guard Jared Butler With 40th Pick

Jul 29, 2021, 10:00 PM | Updated: Jul 30, 2021, 1:33 am
NBA draft prospect Jared Butler (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)...
NBA draft prospect Jared Butler (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz selected Baylor guard Jared Butler with the 40th pick in the second round of the NBA Draft.

The Jazz entered the night with the 30th pick overall but traded it to the Memphis Grizzlies for the 40th pick and two additional second-round picks.

Butler was one of the most decorated players in college basketball during his three-year career at Baylor.

“He’s had a great career,” Jazz general manager Justin Zanik said, “and he’s been playing at the highest level for a long time.”

The guard was a two-time All-Big 12 team member, a Big-12 All-Defensive team selection, and was named the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after leading the Bears to the NCAA championship over Gonzaga.

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.

“He was somebody that we were really excited when we had a chance to get him,” Zanik said. “It was a no-brainer for us.”

The guard was projected by most outlets to be selected just outside of the lottery in the first round but fell due in part to a medical issue concerning his heart. Butler was first diagnosed with the condition after committing to Alabama out of high school but transferred to Baylor where he was cleared.

After declaring for the draft, Butler had to go through the NBA Fitness-to-Play panel to be cleared to join the league which he cleared late in the pre-draft process.

However, sources told KSL Sports that there were also concerns about Butler’s knees leading up to the draft which may have caused the guard to slip into the second round.

“We’re comfortable with Jared as a player and as a person,” Zanik said when asked about Butler’s heart condition. “We’re excited to add him to the Utah Jazz. I don’t want to get into any other of those details. We feel really good about him, so we’re excited to have him.”

Butler would have been drafted after his sophomore season at Baylor but opted to return to school to pursue a deep tournament run after the 2020 college basketball season was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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