The Utah Jazz entered Thursday night time with the thirtieth decide within the NBA draft, however intel acquired by the entrance workplace indicated that the participant they wished, Baylor junior guard Jared Butler, could be accessible later within the night.
So the Jazz traded the No. 30 overall pick to the Memphis Grizzlies for the Fortieth decide and two future second-round picks, and their intel proved proper, as they have been in a position to get Butler with the Fortieth decide, plus the longer term belongings, and not using a hitch.
“He was any person that we have been actually excited after we had the prospect to get him,” Jazz normal supervisor Justin Zanik mentioned with a smile after the draft. “It was a no brainer for us.”
Butler, who gained a nationwide championship with Baylor and was named the 2021 NCAA Ultimate 4 Most Excellent Participant, was initially projected as a mid-first spherical draft choice, however a coronary heart situation that was flagged earlier than the draft mix in June appeared to be the explanation that his draft inventory fell in current weeks.
The 20-year-old Louisiana native was held out of on-court actions throughout many of the pre-draft course of and was informed that he couldn’t play or observe in any capability with the NBA till he was cleared by a fitness-to-play panel — a panel of three physicians chosen by the NBA and gamers affiliation.
That clearance got here on July 17.
has unanimously confirmed my health to play within the NBA. Now, my focus is solely on the Draft and dealing every day to arrange myself to satisfy my lifelong dream !!
— Jared Butler (@J_Hooper11) July 17, 2021
Whereas the lack to work out for NBA groups and doable lingering issues might have been the explanation he dropped within the draft, it by no means appeared to be a lot of a priority for Butler, who was recognized with the guts situation earlier than his taking part in days at Baylor started.
Initially Butler had dedicated to play at Alabama, however was granted a launch from his letter of intent and accepted a scholarship from Baylor — a spot that was coincidentally opened by the sudden retirement of Jake Lindsey, the son of former Jazz vice chairman of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey.
Butler’s situation was identified and he was cleared to play in every of his three years with the Bears, and after cleared by the NBA’s fitness-to-play panel, the Jazz felt assured in transferring ahead.
“We’re snug with Jared as a participant, as an individual and we’re excited so as to add him,” Zanik mentioned. “I don’t need to get into any of these different particulars. It’s simply that we really feel actually good about him.”
So what are the Jazz getting in Butler?
The 6-foot-3 combo guard was named to the All-Massive 12 first crew and Massive 12 All-Protection first crew. He completed his junior yr capturing capturing 47.1% general and 41.6% from 3-point vary, having elevated his capturing effectivity yearly.
Butler is sweet on and off the dribble, has actually good handles and makes use of them to create area for capturing and drives. He isn’t afraid of taking part in by means of contact and is artful across the rim, however there are occasions when he tries to get somewhat too artistic. He’s a robust participant with an NBA-ready physique, so it shouldn’t be an issue getting him to belief his play and energy by means of for a foul or simple end.
Butler’s passing is one thing that shouldn’t be neglected. He’s good at studying a play and anticipating for lobs or guys who’re reducing, and he’s not egocentric in any respect. As his position elevated at Baylor, so did his help numbers.
Typically although, his confidence in his means can result in dangerous performs. He dedicated slightly below three turnovers per sport (2.8) in his remaining season at Baylor. He’ll must turn out to be somewhat extra tempered in opposition to NBA defenses if he desires to maintain the turnovers to a minimal.
Whereas Butler’s capturing numbers have been actually spectacular and his vary signifies that he’ll haven’t any drawback acclimating to the NBA, it’s his defensive talents and upside which are doubtless essentially the most engaging asset that Butler brings to the desk.
Although Butler doesn’t have the best wingspan (6’4), it hasn’t held him again on the defensive finish. He’s extremely lively along with his arms, averaging two steals per sport in his junior season, plus a ton of deflections.
Nevertheless it’s not simply his means to strip the ball that makes Butler particular on the defensive finish. He’s good at making use of ball stress and creating issues for initiators whereas additionally being very instinctual and fast on rotations and in assist protection. He an excellent particular person defender in addition to a crew defender, which makes his worth to the Jazz large.
It stays to be seen whether or not all of his expertise will translate to the NBA or how lengthy it is going to take for them to translate, however the Jazz aren’t anxious about giving him time.
“We’re speaking a few man who’s now about to turn out to be a rookie within the NBA with a extremely aggressive, championship aggressive group,” Zanik mentioned. “He’s bodily robust, robust mentally, robust having the ability to put up with the grind of the season. …He’s received pretty much as good a head begin as anyone that’s coming in with out ever taking part in within the NBA.”
Butler might be heading to Salt Lake Metropolis within the coming days, however his availability for summer season league play isn’t completely ironed out. The Fortieth decide is tied up in a commerce between the Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans. As soon as that commerce, in addition to the commerce with the Jazz are finalized, Butler might be accessible.
Even when we assume that each one isn’t finalized till Aug. 6, which is when all free brokers and signings may be made official, it ought to imply that Butler might be accessible to play within the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer time League, which begins on Aug. 8.